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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: biographic rambles, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 15 of 15
1. Steamcon III

This past weekend, the House of Glee attended Steamcon III, an annual steampunk convention. This year's theme was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. We were all dressed nicely, though Lucia was the only one who had a proper alt-Victorian ensemble. Then again, as Steampunk empress Diana Vick says, "Steampunk needs historical accuracy like a dirigible needs a goldfish."

Alisa's Totally Random Blog has a nice overview of Steamcon III, plus many great photos. Favorite costumes of mine included a friend's deep-sea diver costume for the bathing suit competition, the lady with the ship on her head, and the humorous deep-voiced fish. Lucia made a couple of friends, one of whom you can see here. She was enchanted with a lady who went by the name of Princess Eugenie, and they had a spirited talk about which of Princess Eugenie's castles would be the best place for the next ball.

One of the highlights of Steamcon III was the Amphitrite Society Afternoon Tea, during which the bathing suit competition took place, followed by the gorgeous cello playing and singing of Unwoman, a.k.a. Erica Mulkey. Visit her site, listen to her music, feel the chills.

One of my few purchases of Steamcon (and don't think I wasn't tempted by many beautiful, wonderful creations!) was Unwoman's album Casualties. The House of Glee also assented for Lucia to have a silhouette done when the artist, Kerry Cook, overheard us talking and said that she offered half price for children's silhouettes.

Here is the result:

Silhouette by Kerry Cook

We have plans to attend Steamcon IV, which will take place closer to Halloween. Its theme is Victorian Monsters. I joked that I planned to go as a Morlock, but in actuality, I'm drawn more toward aviator chic. It would be fun to dress as Deryn Sharp from Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy, and make a badge ribbon that says, "Barking Spiders!" (There's even a Leviathan contest going on to win Deryn's flying cap and goggles, which you can enter here.) Then again, sometimes I just want to wear silk bustled skirts. In lieu of fabulous dressmaking skills, I am keeping my eyes open for inspiration in thrift shops.

2. In Which I Kvetch Some More

You wanted more kvetching instead of sweetness and light... you've got it. I'm going to spend the rest of the week being thankful, though. 1. It is not fair that some people get to live full, long lives, while others die much too soon. Coupled with that is the quality of life. While there will probably always be those who have more than others, it seems that the least we could do as a species is

6 Comments on In Which I Kvetch Some More, last added: 12/3/2009
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3. Impossible Questions

A few years ago, I took part in an interview for a library job where one of the questions was, "Tell us about a situation in which there was no possible solution-- what you did in response?" I thought of the most impossible situation I ever had, where a patron who spoke English as a second language wanted a book about the Headless Horseman and followed the plot-line of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

10 Comments on Impossible Questions, last added: 11/19/2008
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4. I'm So Glad You're Not Famous

When I picked up Neil Gaiman's picture-book called Blueberry Girl, I read through it and thought, "It's nice enough, but it doesn't grab me." Then I listened to Gaiman read the poem for the book's animated trailer, and the words began to circulate in my mind:Ladies of light, and ladies of darknessAnd ladies of never-you-mindThis is a prayer for a blueberry girl.First, may you ladies be kind...As

8 Comments on I'm So Glad You're Not Famous, last added: 5/23/2009
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5. Fourth Annual 48HBC Results

It's past 1 pm, and my part in the Fourth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge is done. I'm glad for the chance to have given myself permission to read in lieu of other activities. For awhile now, I've focused on guitar and sewing to the exclusion of reading, and while I don't regret that focus, reading has always been my first love. when I was very little, I was puzzled by grownups quietly holding

14 Comments on Fourth Annual 48HBC Results, last added: 6/10/2009
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6. Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference

I thought I had already written about the Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference, or "KidLitCon" as people are starting to call it. Then, I realized that I'd had it as part of a post in draft form that I never published. MotherReader is organizing it this year. The conference will be in Washington, D.C. on October 17.I grew up in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area and also lived there for two

0 Comments on Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference as of 8/20/2009 12:50:00 AM
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7. The Spider's Web--and Raspberries too

The school year of 1978-1979 was a defining time for me. I was in second grade at a school that no longer exists in Newhall, West Virginia. Corporal punishment in the schools hadn't yet been outlawed in West Virginia, and wouldn't be until 1994. I had a teacher who was particularly liberal with her use of the ping-pong paddle, and would sometimes hold sessions where she'd tell us to tattle on

8 Comments on The Spider's Web--and Raspberries too, last added: 3/12/2008
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8. Summer Reading and the Scourge of Beach-Balls

This post was inspired by Adrienne's post in her Unpopular Library-Related Opinions series called, “To the Left,” or How to Ditch Your Summer Reading Program and Find Something More Fulfilling: As a child, I was completely unaware of my local library’s summer reading program. I was too busy trying to read all of the books in the children’s section to be aware of anything but the next book. I’m

11 Comments on Summer Reading and the Scourge of Beach-Balls, last added: 5/30/2008
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9. Jack Be Nimble: Theme and Variation in American Lit

In my junior year at Goshen College, a small, liberal arts Mennonite school, I took an American Literature Survey course. Our big project for the end of the semester was a term paper (I wrote mine on E.E. Cummings), a timeline, a few other things I can't remember but which seemed important at the time, and a creative piece. In the class, there was a quiet guy who had transfered to my college as a

16 Comments on Jack Be Nimble: Theme and Variation in American Lit, last added: 8/6/2008
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10. In which I go to Bumbershoot and name-drop...

Four years ago, I was at a New Year's Day dinner with a lot of people I didn't know all that well. At one point, I mentioned to one of the guests that I was a children's librarian who loved Young Adult literature too, and she said, "Hey, my cousin has a YA book you should really check out. It's called Teen Angst? Naaah... by Ned Vizzini." I got the book from the library, read it, and enjoyed it.

5 Comments on In which I go to Bumbershoot and name-drop..., last added: 9/3/2008
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11. Why I Ask You to Vote: a non-partisan note

When I was in third grade, my teacher gave us two questions to prepare for debate: The first one was, “Should children have homework?” The second one was, “Should children be able to vote?” I thought that children shouldn’t have homework but that they should be allowed to vote. Since I brought the questions home to prepare for debate the following day, my mother saw them, and offered her

7 Comments on Why I Ask You to Vote: a non-partisan note, last added: 9/30/2008
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12. Kidlit '08 in Portland, Oregon, Part I

Preamble... You can find all sorts of in-depth coverage of the 2nd Annual Kidlitosphere Conference in Portland, Oregon here. You’ll see a lot of the micro-famous bloggers mentioned like MotherReader, Fuse#8, Jen Robinson, and others who write an abundance of in-depth posts, know a lot of people, and yet manage to find moments to talk with the newbies as well as the lesser-known participants.

12 Comments on Kidlit '08 in Portland, Oregon, Part I, last added: 10/15/2008
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13. Kidlit '08 in Portland, Oregon, Part II

Here is Part One SATURDAY The conference started at 8:10 am. Here was the agenda. I’ll admit that I had reservations about attending such a heavily structured gathering. Back when Robin Brande and friends were daydreaming about what it would be like to meet up, we had visualized a grand potluck and little more. However, I appreciated what different speakers had to say about blogging and

13 Comments on Kidlit '08 in Portland, Oregon, Part II, last added: 10/8/2008
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14. Project for Poetry Friday and a few tidbits

This photo of my daughter at the dentist has nothing to do with the post. I've been working on music for a poem that I'm going to feature in this week's Poetry Friday roundup. That's the reason this blog has been quiet for the past couple of days. In a time where so many people have the tools and abilities to post home videos, I am very much a Joanie-Come-Lately. Musically, I am still far from

7 Comments on Project for Poetry Friday and a few tidbits, last added: 10/16/2008
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15. Minivan with a Fringe On Top: Oklahoma and Amarillo

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We arrived a couple hours ago and just came back from eating tacos and hot green and red chili. But I’ll blog about that once we’ve finished our time here. Over the past few days we were in Oklahoma and Amarillo, TX, so I’ll catch you up on that. Karen helped out with today’s blog. She wrote the section on Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo, TX (below, in a different font).


We arrived in OKC from Dallas on Thursday evening. There, we stayed with our friends Rich Schwab and Margaret Mantooth Schwab. They were incredibly nice to us, and took the day off on Friday just to drive us around. Thanks, Rich and Margaret!


First stop in Oklahoma City, I was interviewed on “Read All About It,” a state-wide show about books and authors that's produced by the Metropolitan Library System for Cox TV. Now, I can’t say I’m used to being interviewed on talk shows, but boy-oh, this was fun. First, they put make-up on me (not sure why—isn’t the pasty-white look in?), then I hung out in the green room with other guests, including some way-cool local librarians, one of whom was doing a review on the novel Rules by my friend Cynthia Lord. Then they called me to the set. I was on for about eight minutes, interviewed by BJ Williams, the show’s producer and host. We talked about Lemonade Mouth and the tour, etc., etc. I think it went well, but who am I to say? It was my first time. I’ll get a copy of it whenever I can. :-)

Thanks to BJ Williams and Cox TV! Hats off to "Read All About It" -- what a wonderful way to promote books and reading!

Best Of Books

Later that afternoon we stopped at Best of Books, a terrific store in Edmond, OK, where Julie Hovis and Kathy Kinasewitz, the co-owners, were great to my family and me. The store has been in business for years, and it’s carved out a niche as one of the few independent booksellers in the area.

While there I ran into an old friend from Massachusetts, Meredith Pearlman, who had made the drive from Tulsa to see us--she moved to Oklahoma only three months ago. It was so great to see you, Meredith!

We made a stop at the memorial for the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. It was very moving. They have a place for kids to leave messages in chalk. Evan, Lucy, and Zoe each left one.

Uh-Oh. Oil Trouble!

We were driving around the city when suddenly a light started flashing on our car’s dashboard – it was an oil can. Uh oh, oil trouble. So we made a quick detour to the local Honda dealer, where Stephen Sponsler did a quick diagnosis – we were almost completely out of oil! Yikes! We must have a leak, but it must be a slow one because after he changed the oil he didn’t see the car lose any more. So, new strategy: We’ll check the oil every 500 miles or so!

While we were waiting for the oil situation to get resolved, we stopped into a local Barnes and Noble, where we met Chuck Ackerly and Dean Kraushaar. A cool way to spend the pit stop!


On Saturday (yesterday), it was goodbye Oklahoma, and back into Texas. We arrived in Amarillo where, in accordance with the old classic song, we grabbed a pillow.

Karen wrote the next part:

Camping in Palo Duro Canyon
KAREN: On Saturday night we went camping in Palo Duro Canyon, near Amarillo, TX.

It was a wild experience. First, we set up camp at the bottom of the canyon (the 2nd biggest in the US)! We spread out our tent on the hard red dirt covering all of the ants and other variations on bugs. The minute we got there, we were all being eaten alive by bugs. I could tell right away that I could never have been a cow girl. Even though I’ve camped in the past and loved it, I was already dreaming of a comfy bed in the air conditioning. Lucy, Zoe, and Evan were complaining about being bitten, Mark was complaining about how hot it was (it was 7pm), so I knew it would be a long night especially when Mark announced to the kids that if they see a Rattlesnake, don’t try to poke it with a stick! Rattlesnakes, no one prepared me for this!! The kids started to freak...who could blame them? Next we had dinner, no fire of course because we were too hot and would have roasted even more. Who told me that it cools down in the desert at night??

That evening we went to an amazing musical show called “Texas” in an amphitheater actually in the Canyon. It was all about Texas history, songs and there were even fireworks!

I liked the show so much, I even started thinking it would be fun to be a real Texan.
I was amazed at how the Texan settlers could live here! Ok, so I could make it one night, why not?!


I was up all night listening to various interesting sounds of wildlife. While the family snored happily, I kept thinking of all those Rattlesnakes. I swear I heard some close by slithering. Mark thinks I was imagining things, but I DON’T THINK SO!! The next morning Mark admitted that the park ranger warned him that there was a “bumper crop” of Rattlesnakes in the canyon this year. Enough said!!

The next morning, getting up at 7 am with 3 hours of sleep and all wet because there was a lot of dew all night (so much for comfortable sleeping in the dry desert), we rushed to pack up camp, eat and dress to be presentable because in one hour we were going to be interviewed by the Amarillo NBC TV station at Barnes & Noble! Can you believe this? The only time in my life that I was a actually going to be on TV is after spending a night camping full of dirt and bug bites…so much for any beauty rest! I’ll let Mark tell you the rest, I’m fading from exhaustion!

(I just re-read this and although it sounds like I had a miserable time, it was a great adventure I wouldn’t have missed. We really are having a great time. Our next camping trip might include bears. I’ll let you know if we go do it and I don’t chicken out!)


MARK: Jeez, I can’t believe I’m still typing. This was an action-packed few days! So, in Amarillo, TX this morning the local NBC-TV affiliate (KAMR) was there to interview us! They have a weekly series on families doing stuff together, so our trip kinda fit in. (Note, this gig was due entirely to the amazing promotional efforts of my friend Tyler Jensen who, out of sheer kindness, sent out a funny email to media outlets all over the known world, telling them about our road-trip. Thanks, Tyler! You da best!) for the interview, Evan stole the show when he described the camping experience and gave an enthusiastic, detailed tour of the van. They loved him so much they ran out of videotape filming him. No kidding!

The series runs every Friday, part of the local evening news. Our story is scheduled for four Fridays AFTER this Friday. Faith, the local news anchor (she was the one doing the interviews!) promises to let me know when it runs, and how I can get a copy of it. I’ll get the word out when I have access to the video. :-)

We were very lucky to meet up with Kimberly Willis Holt and her husband Jerry for coffee. Kimberly is the New York Times bestselling author of such books as When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, My Louisiana Sky and Waiting For Gregory. Such nice people! We ended up chatting for quite a while. :-)

Finally, here’s a picture of Samantha Adkins and Cassie Mason, two soon-to-be high-school seniors who we met in Amarillo. Among other things we talked about Harry Potter and his unknown fate—which will be known later this week. Nice to meet you, Samantha and Cassie!

Next stop: Santa Fe!

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