Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Movies

When I'm visiting my mom, we watch a lot of movies.  Here's the lowdown on some movies you may also want to view if you feel like it.

Mamma Mia.  You might think this is going to be kind of dumb but then you might be pleasantly surprised.  The movie doesn't take it self very seriously.  The songs are catchy.  And then there's Cher singing Fernando.  SCORE.

On TV we watched Tom Cruise in American Made.  My mom and I agreed that it wasn't your typical Cruise fare, but very watchable.  We also watched Table 19, which was silly, but kind of okay because I always like Anna Kendrick and June Squibb.  We capped it off with The Equalizer, which I've seen about 12 times.  My mom had never seen it.  She said, "I don't usually like movies like this, but Denzel makes it."  So we lucked out with the movies. My dad was cranky and wouldn't watch the movies with us, so that was frustrating, but everyone is entitled to freedom.  Overall, a fun visit down in the deep South.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Legs

Husbandman  was mowing the lawn this evening last when this snake stealthily and swiftly wrapped around his left leg.  We couldn't persuade the snake to release him.  Come to find out,  the snake was squeezing Husbandman's leg with a surprising amount of force, preventing Husbandman from finishing the mowing which was a drag because he only had a small bit of lawn left to mow.

We sat on the deck together, the three of us, for the better part of an hour, when a baby rabbit caught the snake's eye.  The rabbit was munching grass, nary a care in the world.  Our snake who we had started calling Legs, slithered off Husbandman's leg and headed to the rabbit.  Legs never made it over to the rabbit who hopped away in a flash when he sensed something was amiss. Legs slid back to the deck, but by that time, Husbandman and I had gone inside to eat some peach cobbler.  Legs spent the night on the deck in a state of what can only be described as despondence.  We wish we could think of a way to help Legs.  After breakfast, I'm going to suggest that Husbandman head over to the pet store to get a snake carrier.  Then maybe we'll invite Legs to drive to Georgia with us, so he can meet my parents.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Conference

Photo Credit:  Anastasia Gruper.  Thanks @agruper!
ILA 2018 has come to an end.  I'm still here in Austin.  I was going to venture out to see the bats tonight, but you know what they say.  If you can't stand the heat, stay inside the air conditioning.  So that's what I'm doing.

But that's neither here nor there.  Let's not judge me for making the lesser choice.  Let's focus instead on the conference and my many accomplishments.

The conference has been quite good.  My session went well and that was a big relief. It was delightful  talking about Back and Forth with Katie Wood Ray.  The people at the session were supportive and enthusiastic. Go EDITOR MINDSET!

Other highlights:  I listened to 5 great authors on an LGBTQIA panel. I could have listened to them all day long.  I also heard a funny session about punctuation and bought a hefty book called #Patterns of Power that will help me with teaching about apostrophes this year.  I also spent some time analyzing a poem with a group of peeps. I also talked with some fun people at the Heinemann reception. Also, I went to a 2 hour session on sketch noting and comprehension that was fascinating.  I also heard a set of inspiring keynotes from Cornelius Minor, Aden Gonzalez and Nadia Lopez. (FYI: Those peeps are doing some very cool work).  So, in the end, ILA2018 was all fabulous. But come to find out, the thing is, there's no place like home and I'm ready to get back to my tribe.

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Clickiness

So today I got on a plane and flew to Austin, Texas.  First thing I did when I got here was check into my pleasant hotel.  Then I went to get my badge.  Then I went back to my room to keep practicing my talk.  This talk's been giving me grief, but it's not really the talk's fault. I just keep getting distracted by stuff.

My mood brightened when I discovered a little shop in the lobby where you can buy sandwiches and bottles of WINE!  Once I feel like I'm 100% ready for tomorrow, I'll relax and watch TV and enjoy the fruit of the vine.

My room overlooks a beautiful outdoor pool.  I'm tempted to make my way down there, but every single person, save one,  is part of a cool in crowd group, also known as a clique. There's one guy who is not mingling but he's talking on his phone while he stands in four feet of water. I feel sorry for him.  It's best for me to stay up here and practice the talk again.  Then I'll catch up on The Bachelorette and imagine how great it's going to feel tomorrow night when the talk is over.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Annoyances

I'm sitting in a coffee shop, surrounded by men and women chatting.  Several have  sweet lilting voices that are getting on my last nerve.  I wish they would go away. Zip it, people.

Tomorrow I go to Austin.  I don't feel ready for the ILA Conference and as usual I've turned the talk into a ridiculous chore that still isn't quite done.  Surprise, surprise.

On the good side of things, our trip to Oregon was fantastic.  We ate at amazing restaurants, visited beautiful parks, hiked to  stunning waterfalls, stared at sea lions and sea stars along the coast.  

We talked about things that annoy us at our jobs and 20 Something led us in a goal setting session. In short, #VisitOregon

Sunday, July 08, 2018

The Editor Mindset



Toward the end of the month, I'm going to Austin to talk about Back and Forth at the ILA Conference.  I'm working on the talk and as usual, I'm getting down to the wire.  I got brave last summer and asked Katie Wood Ray to present with me.  KATIE WOOD RAY, people! As you undoubtedly know, she's a famous writing workshop guru who has written many amazing books for writing teachers.  She's also an editor at Heinemann.  So I thought it would be great to have a real editor sharing thoughts on the editor mindset as I share ideas from my editor mindset work with the Thirdlander authors of Popcorn Press.  I'm still surprised that Katie said she would do this.  How nice is that?

I need to get this power point done so I can send it her way before I leave tomorrow for Portland.  I'm pretty sure I can do it.  I keep getting stuck because I can't stop looking up new information about editors on the internet.  This Harper Collins site, "Inside the Archives" has great letters to Ursula Nordstrom, my favorite editor of all.  It's so addicting.  I can't stop reading letters from Arnold Lobel and E.B. White and John Donovan. I'm having fun working on this talk.  I'm not sure too many people will love the editor mindset as much as I do, but as you know, I myself find it completely fascinating.


Thursday, July 05, 2018

The Quiet


Our good friend Kathala died last week.  This week we attended a visitation and a funeral. We went to the cemetery and we mingled with the flood of people who came to say goodbye.   There were tears aplenty.  There will be more to come. They come at surprising times.  The house is quiet now.

Almost every Friday afternoon for over ten years, I've had a date with Kathala and Sandra and Judith.   We'll still get together, but it won't be the same and we all know it.  We met at her house a lot of the time.  We talked nonstop for hours and hours and laughed and cried on repeat. She would never let us leave until everything was discussed in great detail.  Whenever anyone said anything about weirdness of the week, Kathala would pause in surprise and then say, "You know what?" and we would laugh hysterically in response.

Then she'd dive into her thoughts about why this weird thing happened or why it shouldn't have happened or why it keeps happening.  And today I'm just wishing I could hear her say, "You know what?" a bunch more times.

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...