Monday, February 20, 2006

Please excuse my lack of postings in the last week or so. Life does have a way of throwing us curve balls when we least expect it.

The trip to Greenville, NC was wonderful. I had a great time with the other LSIT faculty members. Even the faculty meetings were enjoyable. :-) Wandering around town was fun, even in the rain. A cold front hit just as I got there. I seem to bring bad weather with me. Driving on the right side of the road seemed natural, after the first day. The drive in the dark from the airport to the hotel the first night was a bit unnerving though.

The booktalking presentation at the MLS Conference was fun. I had a great audience of secondary teachers and librarians. I was told later that some of them headed directly to Barnes & Nobles to do some shopping with the bibliography of 2005 and 2006 YA titles I handed out. A couple of them said they might take my YA Literature course at ECU in the fall, for recertification credit. So I am feeling really good about having presented as mine was one of only a few secondary level sessions.

I would have come home bubbling over with professional excitement and enthusiasm for YA literature, but I learned, as I was leaving for the Greenville airport early Sunday a.m. that my Dad had died the night before. I did not have a good relationship with my father in later years, as I am not a typical Upper Michigan born and raised Finnish woman by any means of the word. I dreaded going to the funeral, but my gentle loving oldest brother Dan and my wonderful husband Steve convinced me that I needed to put closure on this. So off we flew the next day from St Thomas to Chicago. We rented a car, drove to Green Bay and picked up my daughter Mary and then make the snowy cold drive up to the Hancock/Houghton area in Upper Michigan. I grew up in Point Mills, what was once a small village, outside of Dollar Bay, a tiny town in the Copper Country. I was able to put closure on the rocky relationship with my Dad by remembering the wonderful Daddy he had been to me as a little girl. That is the man I spoke about at the funeral, a man that many of the people at the funeral never knew as I was the baby of the family and the only girl. My three older brothers remember a much different father than I do. I realized we basically grew up in different families when Mom died 8 years ago in February and heard them talk of different memories of her as well. Don't know if it is because I am the only girl, now the matriarch of the family, or because I am younger than them and did not grow up in the large extended family of cousins that they did. I will miss the Daddy I knew and loved and thought the world revolved around, and the wonderful Mom I got to know in later years - the kind and caring woman who was there for me. I still reach for the phone to call her when I need advise or just want to talk. Now I am filling that role for my own daughter, Mary. Life, and death, go on, whether we want them to or not.

I really haven't had much time to read in the last few days, but on the way to Greenville I read the second title in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness prehistoric fantasy series by Michelle Paver, Spirit Walker, the second book about Torak, the prehistoric youth who kills the demon possessed bear that killed his father in Wolf Brother, the first book in the series. A deadly sickness has ravaged the tribes and Torak journeys to the coast, followed by tokoroths, hosts for demons, to find a cure for the sickness that Torah thinks the Soul Eaters have sent. Unfamiliar with the taboos of the coastal peoples, he desecrates the ocean with his hide clothes and is then kidnapped by two young men from the Seal clan and is taken to their island. It is here that Torak meets Tenris, the mage who created the demon bear that destroyed his father. Torak, with the help of Wolf and Renn, destroys Tenris and returns to Renn's Raven clan to seek answers about who he is and who his father was. The answers do not soothe his soul. The third book in the series, The Soul Eaters, will be published by HarperCollins in 2007.

That's it for now. My energy reserves are quite low these days.