Friday, July 28, 2017

The Sky

We are now in San Francisco because we are international travelers and followers of the Mighty Brother band.  On the docket is a trip to the wine country for some tasting.  Remember the old motto, The sky's the limit, when your heart is in it.
On another good note, my book is on Amazon now. People can order advance copies if they feel like it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Prize

Peeps, I've found the best botanical garden on the planet.  It's in Montreal. Hands down winner. It's hugely massive with thousands of cool and unique gardens. Also it has the insectarium. I spent hours walking around this place today. I am probably going to get a job there because I belong at the Montreal Botanical Gardens.  I'm ready to change it up a bit.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Vieux

I walked all over Vieux Montreal yesterday in the rain.  I rode the metro, saw an exhibit about the Montreal Expos, walked through courtyards and took pictures of old stone buildings. I walked along the canal and saw the locks and took a picture of a statue of Jean Drapeau.  Jean was mayor for quite awhile here.  He did some good things, but he lost about 1 billion dollars on the Olympics due to some serious mismanagement. The city's finally paid up that big debt. Charles Dickens stayed in Montreal at the Hotel Rasco while he was directing and performing in his play at a theater across the street.  His wife came with him and also performed, which is good news, because he later ended his marriage in a shameful way.  I also learned about Marguerite Bourgeoys, but we'll save her story for another day.  Husbandman needs to take his computer off to the conference now.
Anyway, c'est tout bien here in Montreal.  Today I venture out again.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Undistressed Damselfly

Bluet Damselfly
Husbandman and I went out for a swim this morning.  We went early before it got too hot.  As we floated back and forth from wall to wall of the quarry, the damselflies hitched rides on our arms staring at us with their massive eyes. I loved their skinny stick bodies with their sporty stripes of blue. Their transparent lacy wings folded back with a nonchalance I envied.   When I got home, I googled "skinny dragonfly" because I didn't know about damselflies.  Come to find out, dragonflies and damselflies are related.  They belong to the Order Odonata which means "toothed ones."  There are over 5,000 species within this order, with a third being damselflies.  The rest are the larger dragonflies, who lay their wings out flat when they're resting, somewhat pretentiously, if you ask me. This photo shows you some kind of bluet damselfly, which is the kind we saw this morning. The damselfly is a great hunter.  The stick body I so admired is actually its ten segment abdomen.  Damselflies have been on the earth for over 300 million years, so I guess they know what they're doing. They're now on my list of favorite insects.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Project

I heart Barry Lane.
After the cool conference, I spent a few days with the fam at 90Cab.  I got my mom a new, pink rollator.  Her physical therapist called the rollator the "cadillac of walkers," so of course she had to have one.

We got lattes one afternoon and went to sit in the square.  It was Georgia hot and muggy, but it was nice to check out the geraniums and dwarf gardenias.  I wonder if they're making plans to remove the confederate statue from the square.  That thing's annoying and offensive. Mom agrees wholeheartedly.  Maybe my Dad can take that on as a project.  He's good at talking to people and following through.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Conference

I'm early to the airport, so why not blog a bit?  The ILA conference was top rate great.  I had many fun experiences that I'll now tell you about.  On Friday, I met with Brett and Michael of Heinemann to record a podcast. Brett chatted while Michael took video. I was nervous about this, but overall, it went well.  Brett told me about upcoming possibilities for Back and Forth.  Back and Forth comes out on September 14.  I ended up enjoying the podcast recording.  I fumbled a few times, but mostly the conversation felt natural, imho.  Thank you Brett and Michael!

I had dinner with marvelous Michelle Flynn from Heinemann and 3 great educators:  Meredith Ogden, Lindsey Moses, and Stephanie Affinito.  We all worked with excellent editor Holly Kim Price.  Holly got held up on a tarmac so she didn't make it.  It was fun talking about where our books are and their different journeys.  These are fun, smart people and the night could not have been more fun.  I went to their sessions during the conference on Saturday and Sunday.  Amazing stuff.

On Saturday, I went over to the Heinemann booth to look around and to imagine what it will be like when Back and Forth is there soon.  Heinemann people came up to me to say hi.  They would say stuff like, "Lee, we were on the video call together," or "Hi Lee, I'm working on the catalog right now so I recognize you from your photo.  The book looks great."  So friendly!  Happy times indeed.

After Stephanie's session, Holly and I zipped out for a quick lunch. I was glad to get a chance to talk with her.  She gave me ideas for getting involved with the promotion of the book. So stay tuned for more info on that.  I also talked to her about some vague ideas for future books and she was encouraging. Who knows?

Saturday night was the Heinemann author reception.  I was sad to be without Judith because my mix and mingle skills aren't all that great. Plus it was hot and I kept sweating and my glasses kept fogging up.  But I just decided to ignore that stuff and make the most of my time with the Heinemann people.  I talked to Michael the videographer for awhile.  He's hilarious.  Then I let him move on to others and I saw 2 women talking nearby.  I walked up to them and said, "I'm going to talk with you now." They seemed fine with it.  They even gave me their card and said they review books on their blog and that I should reach out when it appears.  I saw Lindsey and Meredith and chatted with them and got introduced to Nell Duke.  SWOON!  Then incredible Elizabeth from Heinemann came over and said, "Who do you want to meet?"  I had a list, so we talked with Ralph Fletcher for awhile, and then chatted for a time with Barry Lane.  He's the dearest, funnest man, and I hope he can come to our school for a talk.  Then I met Katie Wood Ray and I asked her to present with me next year at NCTE since she is both a writer and an editor.  She said, "I'll do that, but you have to write the proposal."  I'm still kind of amazed that I did that.  I told her, "I can't really believe I just asked you to do that."  But she was friendly, supportive, awesome.   I can't even think about presenting with her because I get too pumped up and it's a long way off, if it even would happen.  But who knows??  The reception ended with a friendly and funny chat with Cornelius Minor, who is an amazing teacher and author and person.  He's also working with Holly on his book, so we're kind of related. His latest podcasts for Heinemann are top notch.  I can't wait for his book.

So after some great sessions on Sunday, I went back to the hotel and brought my book poolside.  I swam and read and wrote in my notebook.  Now I'm at the airport.  Heading to Georgia for a few days to visit Ann and Dan.  Still on a buzzy upbeat high from a weekend full of learning new stuff and talking to cool people.  We all need to go to more conferences.  Even if we're not presenting, let's just go.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Conference

I'm getting a little nervous about this weekend's conference.  It's in Orlando and Orlando is not my favorite place.  I don't much care for EpcotWorld and high temperatures annoy me. We have high temperatures here today, so I've scowled through most of the day.  It's too hot out there and Orlando's even going to be hotter.  I don't have the right clothes, so I went to the mall to buy some clothes, but I'm not thrilled with my purchases.  Truth be told, I'm nervous about recording the podcast.

I've got some anxiety going on right now, my friends, and I've got to get my act together PDQ. I wish I could have a Pimm's Cup. Please bring me one if you can.  A Pimm's Cup would make everything okay.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Farmers

Husbandman goes to the farmer's market weekly.  This week he bought some fine tomatoes.  A good pal gave us some zucchini she had grown right out of the ground.  Husbandman whipped up some zucchini fritters last night.  The guy is a miracle worker.

Today I have some plants to put in the ground---zinnias, begonias, marigolds and lantana.  Once again, I'm getting back to the land and getting my priorities in order.

Soon Husbandman and I will be off the grid completely, living as homesteaders.  I'm going to be a homeschooling teacher, here on High Street.  If you have a kid who wants some learning, bring her on over.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Missing

On Friday, I might be recording a Heinemann Podcast.  I'm scheduled to do this, so I don't know why I'm writing MIGHT.  When you think about it, though, anything can happen between now and Friday.  I'll let you know how/if it goes and when/if you can hear the conversation.
I'm curious about the book.  In our back and forth journey, the book is now in the publisher's hands and I haven't seen it for a few weeks.  I wonder how it's doing and feeling.  I know it has friends at Heinemann, but does it miss me or need me?  I hope we're back together again soon.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

The Mighty Brother

Mighty Brother just left the Hoosier state for Iowa City.    We saw 2 out of 3 of their Hoosier shows, at the Eiteljorg Museum and at the Back Door.     As you know, we love Mighty Brother because they're all sweet guys who sing amazing original songs.  Also, their bassist is #1 Son and he's just a ton o' fun.

They are packed into a mini-van in a way that worries me, but, like true artists, they're willing to make sacrifices for their art.

The best news is that we are going to a Mighty Brother show in San Francisco on August 1.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The Insects

 We walked on Jackson Trail in Yellowwood State Forest yesterday.  We've walked on this trail before, in late November and we were ready to celebrate our nation's birth by traversing it yet again, despite the heat and humidity.  I'm trying to up my game in the physical activity department as you know.

Come to find out, the outing was an unmitigated disaster due to poor trail maintenance.  A plethora of massive trees had collapsed onto the trail, forcing us to walk off trail to pass them.  I do not like to walk off trail.  Worse than the downed trees was the overgrowth of plants near the trail, constricting the trail to a four to six inch width for much of the walk once we got too far in to go back. Brush of all types scratched at my legs and arms. Sadly, I had worn shorts.  Invisible cobwebs continuously broke against my face.  My tick anxiety kicked in and by the end of the hike, I felt as if I were submerged in a tub of ticks.  I never found a tick on me, but many ticks are nearly microscopic, so obviously my fears are not unfounded. Back at home, I submerged myself in a bathtub of water.  Then I hit the couch with my computer, looking at images of sad animals whose ears were filled with hundreds of ticks. For the rest of the day, I had shortness of breath, and nausea.  Things went from bad to worse when we discovered that the old air conditioning unit we had replaced in our bedroom had a wasp nest inside it. We had left it on a chair in the bedroom after putting the new unit in the window. Wasps were flying everywhere in the bedroom.  Luckily, Husbandman handled the situation with aplomb and surprising bravery.  I sat on the couch, unable to read, completely out of sorts. Anxiety (shortness of breath alternating with small sobs) took hold of me and would not let go until we took ourselves out to a movie called Beguiled.  It was good and you should see it if you feel like it.  We then went to a restaurant for Chinese food which did a lot to bring me out of my anxious tub of ticks stupor.  Today I'm mostly fine.  I still feel like bugs are crawling on me, but I just have to live with that for awhile I guess.
 Husbandman and I are heading to Indianapolis to hear MIGHTY BROTHER play at the Eiteljorg.

Monday, July 03, 2017

The Workview

I'm working slowly through Designing Your Life (DYL).  Today my task is to write about my workview by answering a set of  questions.  I've decided to make a blog entry of it.  Win win...I get a blog entry and I also finish the DYL homework.  I'm not sure it's a win for you, good friend and reader, but just take one for the team today and add a kind comment after you're done reading.

Authors:  Why work?
Me:  Work because it's a good way to be part of something, to make something new and to have a structure to your life that you can rely on.
Authors:  What's work for?
Me:  It's for a paycheck and it's for expression and it's for connection.
Authors:  What does work mean?
Me:  It means purpose and it means creativity.  It means satisfaction and exploration.
Authors:  How does it relate to the individual, others, society?
Me:  I don't know.  Let's come back to that one later.
Authors:  What defines good or worthwhile work?
Me:  Anything you enjoy doing.
Authors:  What does money have to do with it?
Me:  Money's the icing on the cake. Yay for the money.
Authors:  What do experience, growth and fulfillment have to do with it?
Me:  For me, I like the work I do because the experiences are so varied.  There are repetitive parts to it, but mostly it's creative and challenging.  If I'm not learning how to do something new, I get frustrated.  For me, it's fulfilling, and I do have a high level of autonomy in my various gigs, which makes me happy, for the most part.

So, there's my workview, Reader.  I wonder if it would be this upbeat if I were writing it in May, but let's not worry about that.  Let's just stay positive and recognize that this is a really awesome blog entry in the comments section.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

The Summer

Awhile ago, I posted a photo of driftwood in Lincoln Park, Seattle.  The driftwood had a carving on it.  Do you remember?  The cool thing is the artist commented on my photo.  He and his family carve images into driftwood.  You can read about them here.  We're all connected in the blogosphere, which is pretty neat.

I've had a hankering for a swim lately.  So Husbandman and I hightailed it down to Lake Monroe and jumped in.  Then we sat in our camp chairs and read our books.  The lake was lovely, and pontoons and kayaks were zipping along with merriment.

Next week I'm going to Sandra's place for a swim.

It's summer, so everyone should be swimming as much as possible. Living near aquatic environments improves your emotional and physical health.  I think I read that somewhere.  Also, try to carve some images into wood if you can.

The Crawfish

A few crawfish are coming to live in Room 200.  Not sure what to do about that.  They've donated their lives for science education.  I...