Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Goodbye, July

August 4, 2015 @ 7:55 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Books, Family Adventures, Photos

…she says, half a week into August.

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We had family in town and spent a day hanging out with them at their fabulous beach hotel, and another afternoon touring the harbor on a boat cruise. Glorious weather. At one point, we were approaching Point Loma for a glimpse of the lighthouse when my nephew’s phone buzzed—it was Verizon Wireless texting him a “Welcome to Mexico” message. That was just about as far as we got before turning around to cruise past the downtown area. We saw dolphins and sea lions and pelicans—a perfectly satisfying day, according to Miss Rilla, who spent much of the boat ride standing in the wind with her arms spread wide and her grin even wider.

One of the nicest things about living in San Diego is that so many friends wind up vacationing here, and we get to join in.

Back home, I’ve been in blissful planning mode. I adore low tide; low tide is a deep delight; but my little listmaking heart glories in the voyage-charting of high tide just as thoroughly. I spent a morning gathering books from all over the house to fill a shelf for Huck—treasures I want to be sure my last six-year-old (sniff) doesn’t miss. I’ll try to get a picture and a post up soon, because I know some of you enjoy comparing notes that way.

Plans are afoot for Rilla and my two high-school-age girls too: more booklists, more shelves filling up. Every August I do this massive rearranging of the tomes, shifting high-tide resources to the living room where we do indeed do the bulk of our living. Twentieth-century history for the teens this year, and earth science, and Shakespeare of course, and a fat list of literary texts, and the languages they are studying separately. All juicy stuff. Beanie is forging ahead with German, which is extra fun for me, since I’m fair-to-middling in that language myself and always longing to improve my skills.

And loads and loads of art—along with poetry, perhaps our most constant occupation these days. At Comic-Con, I tried out my (brilliantly talented) friend Zander‘s pocket brush pen and was thoroughly intimidated by it. The next day, our (also staggeringly talented) friend Mark Chiarello showed us art from his forthcoming book (his first since his gorgeous book on the Negro Leagues), and he too was working with this pen, whose merits the extraordinary Roz Stendahl is always talking about. Between them, they convinced me to give it a try, and ohhhh, it turns out I’m in love. It is loosening up my line so much. I have a tendency toward a very careful and nervous line, and I’m feeling much freer about taking chances and using my whole arm, thanks to a few weeks with this pen. My book is filling up with a lot of messy, not-so-lovely pages, but in a good way. And every now and then I draw a line I really like. That’s progress.

Meanwhile, Rilla and I are about to dive into Sketchbook Skool’s “More Playing” klass, which started yesterday. We had a ball with “Playing” in July. Our favorite project was the drawing where we took turns for thirty seconds at a time, filling a page with nonsense. Much hilarity there. This, too, is something I’d like to post more about in the week ahead.

I’m overdue for a books post, too. Got on an Anne Shirley kick in July, following my Betsy-Tacy kick in June. Read the series through House of Dreams (skipped Windy Poplars, because I don’t have it on Kindle). I swear Dreams is better every time, even a dozen or more times later.

I also revisited Pudd’nhead Wilson for the first time since high school—shaking my head in bed at Twain’s audacity the whole way through. Oh, how I love him. I’m deep into Mansfield Park right now. No particular reason; it just decided I needed to reread it. I’m a Persuasion person first and foremost, and then P&P, but I do enjoy Mansfield. The urge to smack Mary Crawford upside the head is such a satisfying sensation.

Well, that’s the news from these parts. What’s your August looking like?

owlfriend

Oh, and I met an owl.

As promised

July 30, 2015 @ 7:31 am | Filed under: Family, Photos, These People Crack Me Up

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Rilla’s pocket handiwork.

SDCC Week: Monday

July 6, 2015 @ 7:31 am | Filed under: Photos, SDCC

My calendar this week makes me laugh. A perfect representation of the many disparate segments of my life. Today: Full slate of appointments at the children’s hospital. Tomorrow: Frantic cranking-away at my novel revision. Wed-Sunday: SDCC madness. And somewhere in there I need to find time for a Damn Interesting article edit and a grantwriting assignment. And will MAKE time to start the new Sketchbook Skool “Playing” course with the kids. Because priorities.

I haven’t yet done my usual scouring of the SDCC schedule to see which panels I’d like to hit. Er, attempt to hit—the con has a way of swallowing up intentions with spontaneous developments, which of course is part of the fun. As always, the part I’m most looking forward to is the reconnecting with faraway friends: the lunches, the dinners, the late nights chatting over drinks.

Jenni & me at Wondercon 2011

annual lunch with jock 2014

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Scott and Gene 2013

Jenni and Jonathan 2010

Scott and Chris 2014

hanging with the GeekMoms 2011

Meeting Ozma at Winkiecon 2014

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my favorite person to hang out with ever

The Month That Ate My Brain

June 1, 2015 @ 8:04 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Books, Family, Photos

hellojune

Oh, May. You beautiful, terrible month. I can’t say I’m sorry to see the back of you. Massive workload, plumbing woes, multiple trips to the children’s hospital (which sounds more alarming than it ought to—here in San Diego they send your kids to Children’s for every little thing; for example: a chest x-ray when your child has pneumonia even though there is an x-ray lab RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the pediatrician’s office, AHEM, and a four-hour wait and a three-second x-ray later the radiologist will say, all right, I’ve just sent these to your doctor, zap)…but it’s June now, let’s put all that behind us.

Ahhhh…

I suppose, though, that May did have its moments. Scott surprised me with a trip to a big art supply story downtown, a wonderland full of pens singing at me. I came home with a metal brush pen, aka my new best friend, it feels amazing when you pull it across the page; and a tube of raw umber paint because I have been unsuccessful in mixing a shade the color of chocolate with my basic color palette. Rilla’s birthday breakfast is still waiting in my sketchbook to be painted. Since April, sheesh.

In May my boys’ writing class wrapped up—this was a group of nine homeschooled boys ages 10-14 whose mothers approached me about putting together an eight-week writing course. We had us some fun, let me tell you. A highlight of my spring was watching our freewrites transform from “TEN WHOLE MINUTES??!!?” to “Oh wait can I please have a bit more time?”

final freewrite

Other highlights:

Huck discovered the delights of the Oz books—specifically the Eric Shanower/Skottie Young graphic novel adaptations that Rilla loves so much. He spends a lot of time like this:

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blurry photo but it’s all I got

He’s also enjoying the Magic Tree House books, like so many of his siblings before him. Scott read him the first one to get him started. The corresponding nonfiction volumes are particular favorites, and I am once again being treated to daily factoids about sharks and pirates. Never gets old.

All in a blur

April 14, 2015 @ 9:17 am | Filed under: Family, Photos

Nine years, can you believe it?

Wonderboy and Rilla, June 2006

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five Thursday moments

February 13, 2015 @ 8:18 am | Filed under: Family, Photos

• Rilla came to me with a paper cut. Not that I’m happy she was hurt, just–it struck me so sweetly that she still comes to me for little hurts like that, still believes a kiss from mommy can help

• good IEP meeting—they all love him so

• cleaned up the side yard, threw out two bins of junk, pruned the pepper trees

• daffodils in the neighbor’s yard

• Huck wearing the old cloth barn on his head like a jolly little hat.
Hilarious! Also nice to see how beloved it still is, 16 years and 5 kids later

ikea barn and speckled band

Well, what do YOU wear to read The Adventure of the Speckled Band?

 

 

What recapping looks like

January 7, 2015 @ 8:12 pm | Filed under: Photos, Writing

recapnotes

 

That’s two viewings plus a bit of rewinding during the writeup. Today I discussed Billy Collins’s wonderful poem, “Marginalia,” with a small group of girls, and I when I got home and flipped open my notebook, I had to laugh at the way I wreck a page. That’s not a self-criticism; I’m used to myself now and the chaotic way my mind works as it wrestles a narrative into order. I write my novels the same way: a chunk here, a chapter there, jumping forward and backward in the story until the bones are intact enough that I can settle down and work on muscles, skin, heart.

 

Schmesolutions

January 7, 2015 @ 7:18 am | Filed under: Bloggity, Family, Photos

January 1st
I’m going to blog every day this year!

January 3rd
Well, obviously I didn’t mean weekends.

January 5th
::mutter mutter:: Look, that Downton episode was over 90 67 minutes long. These things take time! A LOT of time. Like, I’d have had to start writing in 1924 to have a recap ready to publish by Monday morning.

January 7th
It’s ready to go live! Now I can get back to regularly scheduled blogging.

::small boy appears, wants to cuddle::

Hmm, maybe not quite yet.

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(Photo taken by Rilla on New Year’s morning. Thanks again for the excellent gift choice, Godmother.)

I’ll be running the Downton posts at GeekMom this year. Episode 1 should go live today; I’ll post the link here when it’s up.

Merry merry

December 26, 2014 @ 5:43 pm | Filed under: Family, Photos

As of this moment, my 2014 Cybils work is done. Well, except for hauling a metric ton of books back to the library. Whew!

Since October 15th, I have read 79 young adult novels. Seventy. Nine. So now you know why this blog has been so quiet. But ahhhh, here I am, ready to settle back in and, you know, put the B in CYBILs. (Children’s and Young Adult Blogger Literary Awards.) Consider yourselves warned. :)

For now, though, today, the day after Christmas, I’ll content myself with a few thousand words’ worth of pictures.

christmas morningChristmas morning

birdbook20 Ways to Draw a Tree: the bird page

bongoboywatching TV with his new best friends

monopolyChristmas night: gaming like the olden days

Hope your holidays are happy and restful, friends. And filled with good books!