Archive for August, 2010

Arizona Monsoon

August 30, 2010 @ 4:01 pm | Filed under: Cross-Country Trip 2010, Photos

Thursday morning last week, east of Tucson.

Books, Um, Heard in August

August 27, 2010 @ 7:51 pm | Filed under: Books

I know August isn’t over yet. I think I can safely predict that I will finish MOCKINGJAY this weekend (I’m only a chapter in), and I doubt I’ll be able to start-and-finish anything else by Tuesday.

It’s a short list this month: I was driving and visiting, not reading. We listened to two audiobooks in the car and about three-quarters each of two others. The two we finished were:

The Miraculous Voyage of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. Sad and lovely, and perfectly suited for a journey.

Because of Winn-Dixie, also by DiCamillo. I’d read it before, perhaps five years ago. I really love this book. I was pondering my favorite literary librarians today (having decided to name my new Kindle*, when she arrives on Monday, “Miss Sparrow”), and Miss Franny Block comes in a close second.

The two audiobooks we haven’t quite finished are:

On the Banks of Plum Creek, which we bought at the Rocky Ridge gift shop because we were all in the mood to listen to some Laura after visiting her home; and

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck, which was loaned to us by my sweet friends Beate and Sabine. They were following our travels on Facebook and invited us to stop for lunch on Monday as we cruised through Texas. It was a delightful stop, and they were absolutely right about A Year Down Yonder being a hilarious and captivating yarn. We left Laura half-drowned in the spring freshet to give the Peck a try, and it had us giggling all the way through Arizona yesterday. We need to drive somewhere so we can finish. Like maybe in circles around the neighborhood because that is as far from home as I’m going for a while.

*That’s right, my new Kindle. I know I only just got the “old” one. See, two weeks after that one arrived, Amazon announced the New and Improved model boasting (among other tweaks) a drastic improvement in the contrast between text and background, and since my one complaint with the K2 was the poor contrast, I mournfully returned it and set my teeth for the long wait until the late-August launch of the new one. I got the shipping notice this morning; Miss Sparrow should arrive on Monday. Poor First Kindle, I hadn’t even named her yet.

There and Back Again

August 26, 2010 @ 7:11 pm | Filed under: Cross-Country Trip 2010, Family Adventures

21 days, 16 states, nearly 5800 miles by minivan. We left home on August 4th, the six kids and I, and got back this afternoon. It’ll probably take me another three weeks to tell all the stories. I started posting about the trip while we were still on the road but didn’t want to say we were away from home until we weren’t anymore.

We got to spend time with beloved family on both sides, Scott’s and mine, and had delightful visits with friends all over the country. This was an August we’ll not soon forget.

Tomorrow we’ll tackle the mountain of laundry, but tonight I’m still thinking of the mountains west of Tucson this morning, as we moved out from under a heavy blue storm into the bright desert light.

(Grainy cellphone photo.)

Tonight we are happy to be safely home, reunited with Scott (who flew out to Virginia to join us for a week of our trip, but returned home ten days ago). Kids are bathed and still mostly on Central Time, so bedtime is nigh. Scott says we have three episodes of Mad Men to catch up on. There’s dulce de leche ice cream in the freezer. I loved our grand adventure, but I am happy, happy, happy to be home.

Worth the Detour

August 21, 2010 @ 7:12 pm | Filed under: Cross-Country Trip 2010, Family Adventures, Photos

Meteor crater in Arizona

Arizona meteor crater. Thursday, August 5th.

Road Trip Day 1

August 20, 2010 @ 9:13 pm | Filed under: Cross-Country Trip 2010, Family Adventures

Wednesday, August 4th: ready to roll.
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Facebook log:

8/4/10.
Just discovered Rilla has filled her travel backpack with milkweed fluff. “So I can frow it in the air when we get there and chase it.”

Oh he’s cruel! I’m loading the car. He puts “Every Time You Go Away (You Take a Piece of Me With You)” on iTunes. ::::sob::::

Flagstaff AZ smells like pine and stars.

OK, so one teeny tiny little hiccup…I have lost my voice. Don’t know why. Don’t feel sick. Dry air? Faded gradually all day. I didn’t talk much. Luckily we know a lot of sign language but it’s hard to sign while you’re driving.

Today: chaparral to sand dunes to saguaro desert to pine forest. 17 audio chapters of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Older girls assigning one another shifts for answering the little ones’ “Are we there yet?” since I couldn’t do it myself. Strawberry lemonade. Incredible mountain view south of Flagstaff. Wired baby.

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Look Where We Went!

August 12, 2010 @ 4:16 am | Filed under: Family Adventures, Little House

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home at Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri. A dream come true for me. We had the most magical time.

I have loads to catch up on and no time to do it now, but I had pretty much the same reaction my good friend Karen Edmisten did just a few days earlier: a lump in my throat and a big ole grin on my face. Pa’s fiddle! Laura’s desk where she wrote all her books! Almanzo’s pink dishes! That big old cookstove he bought her! And oh and oh and oh!

The folks in the bookstore and museum were wonderfully kind to us, and we so enjoyed meeting them. I have much more to tell. Another time. For now, just a few pictures. And another big ole goofy grin.

Chasing butterflies in Laura’s yard. Which totally gives me goosebumps to write!

Five Years Ago? Not Possible.

August 7, 2010 @ 3:47 am | Filed under: Photos

In the days before Facebook, I had a little side-blog where I posted pictures for my parents and in-laws and close friends. Poor little blog, it has been long neglected. I was thinking of this picture yesterday, from a trip we made to Williamsburg, Virginia, in the fall of 2005. Rose would have been about seven years old, and Beanie was going on five.

Important Things We Discuss Before He Leaves for Work

August 3, 2010 @ 6:32 am | Filed under: Family

Sent at 7:18 AM on Tuesday
Scott:  !
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10847838
“In a scene reminiscent of the film Jaws, home video taken at Seaside Park Beach in the US state of New Jersey shows a shark causing a furor by coming ashore briefly before turning away and returning to open seas.”

Me: I love how the screaming gets loudest when he beaches himself. Like that’s the time to worry!

Scott: Heh.
You never know. He might decide to grow legs.
He could.
He’s a shark.

Books That Caught My Eye at SDCC, Part 2

August 2, 2010 @ 6:07 am | Filed under: Books, Comics, Events, SDCC

Again, these are books I haven’t read yet (except one)—I saw them at the con and they piqued my interest. The TBR pile moans.

Series by James Owen: The Chronicles of Imaginarium Geographica (I saw these last year too. Gorgeously designed fantasy series with an appealing premise, something about a map of all the imaginary worlds ever written about…

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (they had a very cool one-of-a-kind handbound metal edition at the publisher’s table)

Hungry Tiger Press. This is the publisher of Eric Shanower’s beautifully illustrated new editions of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. Eric won two Eisners this year for his edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (a Marvel Comics project). Hungry Tiger publishes reprints of old Oz stories and other Baum work, including two books about The Flying Girl, “intrepid girl aviator Orissa Kane.” Baum was one of my favorite authors as a child—we still have my collection of Oz books—and I couldn’t resist bringing The Flying Girl home with me for a test flight.

Tigerbuttah by Becky and Frank of Tiny Kitten Teeth fame. My friend Sarah showed me a copy, and the art and title made me swoon. I hunted for the booth but this was late in the day on Sunday and we had a curry date with our pal Jock, so I gave up the search. The book was adorable—it’s made after the fashion of a Golden Book with many cunning details.

Buzzboy by John Gallagher. Had the pleasure of meeting John at the kidlit gathering and am looking forward to reading his comic about “what happens when the sidekicks take over.”

Nerds: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Ethan Beavers. Wonderful art & a fun premise—the nerds are kids who use technology to “upgrade” their weaknesses into superpowers. More about this (and all of the above) after I’ve had a chance to read.

More on SDCC 2010:

A few photos
Photos of supercool steampunk wheelchair
Awesome sketch drawn for me by the incredible Fiona Staples
What I did at SDCC
Rick Riordan panel
LOST Encyclopedia Panel
Epic fantasy panel
Books that caught my eye (part 1)