Have a great week, everyone!Add a Comment
Have a great week, everyone!Add a Comment
It's time for our annual co-author summer vacation. But wait, we have lots to keep you going in the meantime!Add a Comment
|photo courtesy of Wikipedia|
|The Common Threads Table|
|That's me with my fifth cousin, Earl Scruggs.|
We're taking a week off from blogging to catch our breath after the SOLSC (aka: our version of an ultra marathon!).Add a Comment
I actually do take a stack of grading to the beach with me. I pull out a report. Start reading.
Is that a dolphin? Oooo it’s two.
Look down and try to find where I left off. Jot down a comment.
Oh look. A gull landed so close I can touch him. “Hey guy. How you doing?”
Look down again. Read the same paragraph.
This would be so much better if I took my shoes off, and you know, squish my toes in the sand.
Set report aside. Take off shoes and socks. Dig feet into sand. Dig for a long while. Pull out report. Read the same paragraph.
Oh the heck with it. I’ll grade on the plane.Add a Comment
Finally. We’re on Holland America’s Statendam. Look at that water – smooth as GLASS!!
Here’s one of my favorite pictures from our 2013 Alaska trip:
I want to blow this one up and hang it – soooo pretty.
Here’s a short video to show how smooth the water was in the inside passage…
We were also fortunate to see some whales, too.
I wish I could say the trip back down to Vancouver, after our cruise was over, was equally smooth sailing but alas, no, it was not.
We were one of the last cruises of the season and we ran into a storm on the way home. Luckily, our ship was small enough that we were able to stick to the inside passage and though it was not as smooth sailing as above, it wasn’t too bad. Whenever we passed by an area that there were no longer mountains on either side of us, the waters got very choppy and I got seasick. In fact, we have a video, somewhere, of the water in the pool sloshy so much that it soaks the deck. The pool water got so bad, that Holland America had to drain the pool it was making such a mess. But at least we were able to keep to the inside passage most of the way back to Vancouver. We were sailing side-by-side a Royal Carribean ship and it was too large to sail the passage so I heard they had some REALLY choppy waters on the way back.
That is definitely a con to cruising – even though the captains do a fantastic job of avoiding rough waters, it will occasionally happen. That’s when your Dramamine comes in handy.
The six of us will be celebrating holidays, recharging our batteries, and coming up with more posts to share with this incredible community of teachers and writers for the next two weeks. In the meantime, we have lots to keep you going over winter break.Add a Comment
I dislike parades. Not a little, a lot!
I don’t care about the pageantry or the spectacle. I just get bored. A.D.D.? Maybe. Every time I’m stuck watching them, I can’t find an ounce of enjoyment – I just think about two dozen other things I could be doing. This couldn’t be truer than when I’m at Disneyworld.
My kids, on the other hand, love parades. So when people start lining the streets, they want to stop riding roller coasters and wait. UGH…
Wait for what? Floats. No thank you! If a float doesn’t contain root beer and ice cream, I don’t want it.
I figure with half of the eligible riders standing along the parade route, the lines to the cool things are shorter. Not my family. We wait – and not for the good stuff.
A funny thing happened on our trip last week. We were headed to a ride at the back of the park while people were lining up for the parade. No one with me suggested we stop to watch (miracle), so I powered into the street. We must have been the last ones let out before they closed the rope because we found ourselves about 20 paces in front of the parade with all of its flags and music.
Maybe it was the fact that I was pushing my daughter’s wheelchair, or possibly because I looked so stately and official, but it became apparent that the spectators thought we were supposed to be the ones leading the parade. We all realized it at the same time as they clapped and waved at us.
My kids became confused.
They grouped together.
“Should we pull off and get out of the way?” they wondered.
The oldest asked, “What do we do?”
Of course they looked to me, the leader, the head honcho, the alpha male for direction and what did they find me doing?
With a dopey grin on my face, I waved back at all of my adoring fans.
The kids laughed at me, but it caught on. All of us began waving to the crowd.
You know what? Everyone waved back. The people didn’t think we looked out of place – they just waved at us. I wonder what they thought when the real parade came and they realized we didn’t belong. Oh well, we were gone by then. We walked over half of the parade route unencumbered by the bustling crowd until we got near the ride we wanted. Then we simply ducked into the masses and became one of them – anonymous once more.
I still hate parades… But for a moment, I was the grand marshal.
I just spent a week in New Orleans, a place I’ve wanted to visit since first reading Interview with the Vampire as a teen. The week held plenty of sights and experiences I’d been highly anticipating (a ghost tour, the Garden District, blues and jazz clubs, and — of course — beignets) and some I hadn’t expected (Mardi Gras beads hanging in many trees; the informative but emotionally intense National WWII Museum, which Cindy also visited last year; lots and lots and lots of rain).
One pleasant surprise during my trip to NOLA was an encounter with Pete the Cat, star of the series of picture books and early readers written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean. During a leisurely stroll in the French Quarter, I spotted Pete’s familiar face in the window of Gallery Rinard. My parents are huge Pete fans (and I’m an unrepentant cat lady), so I dragged my boyfriend into the gallery to take a look at Dean’s original art.
While the gallery offered lots of original canvases, prints, and even puppets of the cartoony Pete his picture-book readers will know and love, many of Dean’s paintings are geared towards adults in content and humor (such as this “Most Interesting Man in the World” Dos Equis commercial parody). A series of re-creations of well-known photos and paintings — including The Mona Lisa, Klimt’s The Kiss, and Munch’s The Scream — features cameos by Pete.
And much of Dean’s work portrays his feline friend in a softer, more realistic manner, revealing the artist’s deep affection for the real-life Pete. After quite a bit of deliberation, I eventually chose one of these as a souvenir for my parents:
Like Cindy encountering a Dahl book at the WWII Museum, I didn’t expect for my kidlit life to come out to play while I was on vacation — but I’m glad it did!Add a Comment
Want to help your students focus better during independent writing time? A recent NY Times piece by Daniel J. Levitin may hold the key to making this happen in your classroom.Add a Comment
This month my family and I returned from our LONGEST ROAD TRIP EVER. Longest in duration (one month), if not in miles (3,033).
We started from our home base in Rockford, IL and drove through eight states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, stopping in various towns along the way. What were some of the biggest differences between all these states? Well the gas price for one thing: varying by 60 cents, and the temperature: a high of 104 ° F in Georgia and a low 48 ° F in Illinois. Our journey looked like this:
Did I mention there are five of us? By the time we were done, as you can imagine, we pretty much had had enough “family time”. There is a phenomenon known as too much vacation. When we finally got home we didn’t even unpack. Instead we separated to our individual rooms.
And walking the beach while the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico. Phenomenal. I’d honestly never seen sand turn pink before.
And of course a trip to Florida is never complete without a jump over to Orlando. For . . . you know . . . Harry.
My enthusiasm at World of Harry Potter easily trumped my kids’. One of my favorite memories was having a woman’s portrait in the Hall of Portraits blink when I took her photograph using my flash.
On the other hand, one of my youngest daughter’s favorite recollections wasn’t eating at great local restaurants, swimming in dozens of different swimming pools, or exploring southern architecture. Nope. It was rescuing someone’s Barbie from a perilous fate.
She (Barbie) is currently in quarantine.
Mad cat photo © Nikolai Nikonov, text added; all other photos © Karin Blaski; route map © mapquestAdd a Comment
The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.
I’ve had a busy week! Last weekend, Dean and I took a mini-vacation. We went to Columbus to visit the zoo, the Olentangy Caverns, and one of the Metro Parks, where we saw real, live, wild Bald Eagles. We also stopped at Coon’s Candy, which I drive by every time I go to a horse show in Columbus, but I have never had the time to stop before. We had a really good time. I tried to embed the “story” of the trip that Google+ built from pictures I took with my phone, but the service is so worthless I can’t find the embed link option. Sigh.
Tuesday night I had to take Poppy to the vet. I discovered to my dismay that she had developed an ear infection the night before we were leaving on our trip. A frantic call to the vet yielded an ointment to squeeze into her beet-red ear, which the kennel staff kindly took care of in our absence. Her ear was still very red Tuesday night, so we went home with a medication for pain and inflammation, as well as instructions to continue with the ointment for another 10 days. We have a recheck next weekend – hopefully the infection will cleared up by then, because it’s upsetting seeing how uncomfortable she has been.
Wednesday night after work there was a local open horse show, and I decided to take Pixie. I have been a little nervous to take her to an outside show because she can be so jumpy, but she was really good! Just a few bobbles, and I’m pleased with how well she did. We had a 2nd, 4th, and 5th place in fairly large classes. The bugs were bothering her by the last class, but overall, we both had a good time. I am looking forward to more of these smaller shows next summer.
And that’s my week! I was exhausted Thursday because I was out way past my bedtime because of the horse show, so I have just been lounging around this weekend. I guess I’m due a break after the busy week.
How was your 4th of July weekend? Did you do anything special?
Check out my current contests! See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!
New Arrivals at the Café:
This is two weeks of books
Poison Promise (This is a finished copy – I will be giving it away in a few weeks)
The Game and the Governess
The Return of the Discontinued Man
The Pearl That Broke its Shell (1.99 for the Kindle – this looked different, so I bit at the price)
The Honeymoon Trap (.99 for the Kindle, and since I love Kelly Hunter’s writing, I snapped it up)
I Adored a Lord
Falling for Max
Across the Line
When I Fall
Zomburbia (I couldn’t resist – zombies!)
Falling for the Pirate
Heart of Dread: Frozen
Ringworld Graphic Novel
The Texas Twins (I think the cover is so cute!)
Breaking All Her Rules (Maisey Yates is one of my favorite HQN authors)
Marine for Hire
A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!
What did you get? Please leave links and share!
The post The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–Busy, Busy, Busy! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.Add a Comment
The six of us will be recharging our batteries, planning and brainstorming, coming up with even more great ideas to share with our lovely community of teachers and writers. But don't worry, we've got lots to keep you going in the meantime!Add a Comment
Whether it's an institute put on by your own district, or an expert is coming to town, or if you'll be traveling many miles to take part, I hope that you are as excited about attending your institutes as I am about teaching them.Add a Comment
I just got home from ten days in Europe and I am ready to write. Why?
Because getting out of my writing cave makes me bump up against people, against history, against emotional struggles.
This is history and deep emotions rolled into one poignant visit. For example, there was only one survivor of the camp–only one!–and his stories are heartbreaking. One quote was from a young boy who had entered the gas chambers and was heard to cry out, “It’s dark, it’s dark. Mama, haven’t I been good?” His last words.
For a writer to experience a sobering memorial something like this is to plumb the emotional depths to which a character might be forced to go.
The trip was amazing: as a writer, the trip reminded me that stories are universal, that evoking emotions–both happy and sad–is universal, and that beauty is found in the common things of life.
Summer is officially in swing, at least it is here in the South–and I guess it must be gearing up pretty soon in the rest of North America. Sorry Australia. As the weather warms up and my nephew collects spare change in his vacation jug, it puts me in mind of some of my best vacations. Actually it’s hard to choose a best. I’ve been pretty lucky.
Definitely one of the best vacations of my childhood would be the combined summers at Space Camp. I was technically a teenager, technically a middle-schooler, but I can be nerdy enough to admit that space absolutely turned me into an excited little kid and although it wasn’t really anything like the movie, Space Camp was an incredible adventure.
The first year was a whirl-wind. I didn’t know anyone, but it didn’t matter because everyone was a lot like me. I met Heidi right away, a girl who became a very dear, lifelong friend. Much from the two years actually blurs together now, in fact every time I think of a memory from the first year, I start to wonder if it was actually the second year. Which year did I get my head stuck between the bunkbeds? Which year did we build the rocket that was rather hideous and was named The Load Toad? Which year did we look at Jupiter in the giant telescope? Which year did we tour the training facility where astronauts practice weightless maneuvers in dive suits inside a ginormous tank?
I honestly can’t remember anymore. (My memory is terrible. Just ask D. He’s my official memory-keeper. As in, “Remind me to go to the bank. Remind me to eat dinner. Remind me what day it is.”)
What I do remember is that I had so much fun. Every moment was as thrilling as the breathless 4Gs of the Space Shot. Technically, it wasn’t Space Camp. Technically the first year was Space Academy (Level I) and the second year was Advanced Space Academy. Heidi and I were the only girls on the “pilot” track that year, but we hung tough with the boys and loved it. We trained hard and then executed 3 separate missions: We flew the shuttle, we performed experiments on the space station, and we assisted the other teams from the safety of Mission Control. I swear it was exactly like Apollo 13. Except without, you know, Gary Sinise. Or Ed Harris.
There were movies in the OmniMax and private tours of the museum. And So. Many. Dippin’ Dots. We even had our own turn in a big “weightless” metal water tank. Unfortunately I had allergies and was terrified of getting the benz (in 30 feet of water…), so I snorkeled instead. Probably for the best because a tornado choose that moment to make an appearance, and we were unceremoniously hauled from the tank early and sent down to the safety of the basement museum, our wetsuits still dripping. I am, however, slightly haunted by my fear of scuba diving, and as I have never had a good snorkeling experience (stories to come, I’m sure), I hope some day to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef.
One of the highlights of camp was meeting an actual astronaut, and somewhere there may still be photographic evidence. I wish I could say that Space Camp was where I learned not to lose my camera, but alas, remember what I said about my memory? If not, then perhaps your memory is worse than mine. That’s a scary thought.
I can’t speak for other programs, but my time at the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center was truly unparalleled, and I would encourage everyone to go–at least for the day. In fact, given what a good time he had at the Ren Faire, it might be time to haul the Star Wars obsessed E down to Alabama for the day.
What are some of your favorite vacation spots? Best memories? Feel free to share–I’m always looking for someplace new to go. As my dad always says, “You want to do everything.” Well maybe not everything–bungee jumping just doesn’t sound like something I should do.
What a wonderful summer day! I spent the afternoon napping and reading a book. The clouds darkened the skies and a gentle rain ensued for the good part of about 6 minutes! I do love summer days and WEEKENDS!
Deadlines for art submissions have passed and there has come this summer season of looking for new ideas. Crunch time gives way to the relaxed season in which i can play with the wonders of my imagination.
How do I get ideas? I plow through magazines, books, stores, websites, looking for something to inspire. Color combinations, trends, shapes, textures charge me up! I am always careful NOT to steal ideas. But one idea may spawn a new one in my mind.
As far as writing ideas? They most often come to me on my walks. I have to be sure to bring paper and pen.
And so I thank you summer months! For your green leaves, spectacular flowers, fruits and veggies in the garden and warm moon lite nights. Summer bounty spills into my studio! I love it!
by Stacy Whitman, Publisher of Tu Books
I had two Korean roommates in college. Ever since then, I’ve said, “Someday I will learn Korean and visit Hyun Mi in Korea.” Last year, when I made new Korean friends here in New York City, I decided that “someday” needed to finally be today. I started to learn Korean from a book and a podcast, got addicted to Korean dramas, and this May, finally made that trip to Korea I’ve been meaning to make for over a decade.
On my way to Korea, I had a 7-hour layover in London, another place I’ve never seen in person before. I got to meet Cat Girl’s Day Off author Kimberly Pauley, who showed me 221B Baker St. and the whole area around Parliament—Big Ben, the London Eye, and Westminster Cathedral, for example (the outside—no time for the inside), and then we finished off our whirlwind tour with a full English breakfast.
I didn’t get to visit my old roommate, but I did visit my new friend from New York, who had moved back to Seoul. I stayed with her and her family in Mokdong, a suburb of Seoul, which I loved not only because I was visiting my friend, but also because I got to experience Korean culture from a closer point of view, not as a tourist in a hotel but as a guest. I got to do normal everyday things with my friend, like going to the grocery store and post office, to the bookstore and to the repair booth on the corner run by the ajussi who might know how to fix my purse (sadly, he didn’t have a good solution). I was greatly impressed with the public transportation system, which got me everywhere I needed to be, and often had malls in the stations!
I also met up with the Talk to Me in Korean crew (from whom I’m learning Korean), who happened to have a meetup when I was in Korea. Here I am with Hyunwoo Sun, the founder of Talk to Me in Korean, and his wife, Mi Kyung. A few of us went out for a kind of fusion chicken, the name of which I’ve forgotten, and then patbingsoo—sweet red beans over shaved ice—after the meetup of over a hundred TTMIK listeners.
I love Korean dramas, which are often historical, so of course I wanted to see places like National Treasure #1, the Namdaemung Gate (officially known as Sungnyemun), which burned down in 2008 and was just recently restored and reopened, and Gyeongbokgung Palace in the heart of Seoul. The folk museum was fascinating, letting me see Korean history in person—for example, they had a living replica of a Korean street that brought you forward in time from the Joseon era to the 1990s.
I also went to the Namdaemun Market, across from the gate, and had my first real Korean market experience, and found a stylish purse. I rode a bike along the Han River (and saw cleverly disguised trash/recycling cans), discovered the national children’s library in Gangnam, watched the changing of the guards at Gyeongbokgung Palace, stopped off for a chocobanana smoothie at Starbucks for a quick wifi fix, wandered around in a park filled with fortune teller booths, got makeup samples in Myeongdong, and found bargains in an underground shopping mall at the subway entrance. What I didn’t do was stalk a Korean drama star, though that was tempting.
Not too far from the palace was the Cheonggyecheon River, which is a reclaimed river that has been turned into a recreational area. It was my favorite area of Seoul—I loved to walk along it and returned three times while on my way to other places. The first time I discovered it (on the recommendation of Korean American library educator and friend Sarah Park Dahlen), it was decorated for Buddha’s Birthday, a national holiday in Korea. The next day, on Buddha’s Birthday, my Korean host and I went to the local Buddhist temple to discover how the holiday was celebrated among Buddhists, which neither of us are. That night, the Cheonggyecheon was all lit up in celebration.
I spent a total of two weeks exploring Korea, the second week of which was spent climbing a mountain on Jeju Island, discovering a Buddhist temple and a famous beach and fish market in Busan, and staying in a hanok (traditional Korean house) in Jeonju—where I also happened upon a famous Joseon picnic spot (Omokdae Terrace, famous for a king having once picnicked there), a famous royal shrine, and a Confucian school where one of my favorite dramas was filmed, and where I saw a delightful sight, a class full of toddlers in hanbok, learning about their country’s history. Jeonju also is the home of a traditional Korean paper (hanji) museum, where they have a hands-on room where I made a sheet of hanji! Later I met the driver of a truck full of garlic, who insisted I take a picture of his truck.
Then I rounded out the experience with my friend’s one-year-old’s birthday party in Seoul. (The first birthday is very important in Korean culture, a momentous occasion for which my friend and her husband rented hanbok to wear for family pictures, which I took for them.) However, I didn’t get to the top of 9 km-high Hallasan, the big mountain in Jeju (though I made it 7.5 km!), as I didn’t start early enough in the morning. I’ll just have to go back. Oh darn! (I did, however, get the rare opportunity to see a native deer.)
I ate loads of delicious Korean food, most of which was homemade by my host family, but I also discovered new foods like Jeju’s famous gogiguksu, a pork noodle dish very similar to good ramen. I also had the chance to try Koreans’ interpretation of Italian food, which is very popular—and was very tasty.
And I took a break from my vacation one day to work, because you can’t publish diverse books and travel halfway around the world and not take the opportunity to meet publishers in the country you’re so interested in. An agent at the Eric Yang Agency was happy to introduce me to several Korean publishers, who were happy to introduce me to their books and to learn about mine. Here’s a picture of the mural in their lobby, a testament to the love of reading in Korean culture and a great riff on the famous photo.
It was interesting to see how similar and yet different the two country’s publishing styles were—often, we publish similar books, yet we market them completely differently because Korean parents/readers and American parents/readers are looking for different marketing messages in the books they buy. Young adult literature as a category is still relatively new in Korea, particularly in fantasy (though the age category’s storytelling is strong in dramas and manhwa, the Korean form of manga)—the emphasis in Korean children’s book sections of the bookstore is very much on educational supplements. I look forward to someday bringing Korean YA and middle grade voices to a US audience looking for diversity and new stories.
* And it was a bear trying to pare down my pictures. If you’d like to see more, follow me on Tumblr, where I will eventually be posting more pictures a few at a time.
We're taking off from blogging so we can spend the holidays with family and friends. We'll be back on Jan. 6th, 2014. However, the Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge will still go on!Add a Comment
I'm still working my way through all the books I picked up at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Lulu's Mysterious Mission is the third installment in this illustrated, chapter book series. I don't know why I never got around to reading the first two, but I'm making it up with a booktalk and a book trailer. Enjoy!
Viorst, Judith. 2014. Lulu's Mysterious Mission. New York: Atheneum.
(Advance Reader Copy supplied by publisher - artwork not final)
Eeny meeny miney mo,
That babysitter’s got to go.
Sooner, not later,
Fast, not slow.
That babysitter's got to go.
Here in Vermont, winter is white and sparkly, all jingle bells and sleigh rides. Summer is green and luscious, with blue skies and sunshine. Fall is golden and red and drop dead gorgeous.… Continue readingAdd a Comment