Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Less than 2 hours and I leave for the airport. These 10 days have gone by fast, especially since I didn't get to the beach or to any of my favorite waterfront haunts. But, I am not complaining too loudly as I had Shipwreck burgers twice and Steve made his yummy stuffed baked potatoes for me. And, I got to have mommy/kitty time in the mornings with Sophie. She is staying down here due to her weight problem! Steve suggests we call her hippo-let after I suggested piglet, since she weighs too much to take her as carry on and US Air does not ship pets in cargo. Max is 15 lbs. and she weighs that without the carrier. So I will have to fly American in December as they don't have the restrictions. We brought her down on American. Not looking forward to her crying in the car from the airport in Raleigh to Greenville.

This apartment looks a lot less like a bachelor pad than it did when I arrived. Spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen and bathroom and picking up "stuff" all over the place. Whatever open space there is Steve fills up with change, crumpled receipts, smashed mail, and anything else that happened to end up in his pockets that day. I used to think we were bad with our purses, but women are nothing compared to guys and their pockets. I am amazed what can come out of his pockets at the end of a day. At least most of ours goes back into our purse when we look for something. Steve empties his pockets each night and only the keys and his wallet go back in the next morning. The rest of the "stuff" piles up in little heaps around the apartment. I found the kitchen counters and the coffee table but didn't even attempt his latest "deposits" on my desk and the dining room table. They can wait until December because I am sure they will be right there when I get back.

Finished Mary E Lyons' Letters from a Slave Boy: The Story of Joseph Jacobs, a companion novel to Letters from a Slave Girl, which Lyons wrote 15 years ago and is about Harriet Jacobs, one of the early female Abolitionists. Both of these books are fictional accounts based on Lyons' research. Very little is to be found about Joseph so she used historical information from the time period to create a credible young man. Joseph is taught to read and write by the young white boy he teaches to fish. They are friends until the other boy's father tells him that is not possible. Joseph discovers that his father is a white man who has purchased their papers, but has not set them free. The previous owner insists it was an illegal transaction and that he still owns them. Joseph writes letters to his mother, sister, uncle and others he meets during the 20 year period of mid 1800s this book covers. The letters are mostly written in a ledger and not sent. This format does not allow for the depth that a narrative style novel would have, but I do think it will appeal to MS age boys as Joseph joins a whaling crew, ends up in California during the Gold Rush, and "disappears" in Australia. I have not read the first book so I cannot compare the details from the time periods that overlap, but it is a credible addition to an upper elementary or MS library.

Should get some grading done before I haul the last of the two duffel bags out to the car. They are both under the max of 50 lbs. but still not easy for me to deal with. At the airport on St. Thomas you have to check in and after they weigh your luggage, you have to go through customs with luggage in tow. The last two times Steve and I flew together we used a porter. Not sure what I will do today - will probably have to do the same as Steve can't come into the customs area with me. Been up since before 6 a.m. so I hope I can at least doze part of the way to Charlotte. That is, unless they have a really good movie showing. :-)

Next entry will be from Greenville, or perhaps Chicago if I don't get to it before Friday a.m. Headed to the SLJ Summit.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A breezy Sunday afternoon. We went down to Shipwreck to have a burger for lunch. Yummy fries today - I don't want to think of the weight I have put on since I got down here. Steve has taken me out for all my favorite on island foods. We didn't stick around for football today as the Kansas City Chiefs' game was not being shown. So he is off to the office for a bit and to get more Diet Coke in case we run out before I leave. He knows how crabby I can get with out my caffeine fix in the a.m.!

Steve still has the head/chest cold thing he caught when we were in Kansas City. He wanted to go out to dinner last night but I told him it wasn't fair to the Halloween partiers for him to be coughing on them. Besides I wasn't in the mood to watch a bunch of drunk Draculas and Playboy Bunnies tottering about. We watched The Prairie Home Companion and called it an early night. That movie was worth what we paid for it - a free Blockbuster coupon. I don't like Garrison Keillor, but Steve loves his radio show. The best part was Kevin Kline as Guy Noir - the private detective. It was better than the Robin William's bomb we watched last weekend - RV. Williams has done some real stinkers in his career and this one is the worst I have seen. It can't even come close to Chevy Chase's family vacation movies. My movie choice last weekend was The Break-up with Jennifer Aniston. It was an okay movie, but I was prepared for a comedy and it really wasn't funny, just down right sad and depressing. A woman doing dumb things to get a jerk to appreciate her, but he is too self centered to even realize, much less care, why she is acting the way she is. So, it certainly didn't live up to the hype. The only movie I have seen in the last 2 weeks that I liked was The Devil Wears Prada, which I saw on the plane on the way down here. Meryl Streep did a fantastic job as a bitchy women's magazine publisher. Much better than her dorky role in The Prairie Home Companion. I have seen more movies in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last 2 months, other than the old ones I watch on TMC.

After the couple of depressing books I had read I needed a feel good book and found a copy of Barbara Park's The Graduation of Jake Moon in my bookcases. What a delightful, honest depiction of how a tween/young teen would feel about his beloved grandfather Skelly's Alzheimer's. Jake pretends he doesn't know Skelly when he and two other MS guys see Skelly get into the dumpster, but his feelings of guilt afterward eat away at him. All in all this is a beautiful story of a loving family who bicker and fight, but all love Skelly and do the best they can to help a once active and vibrant elderly man deal with an illness he isn't even aware he has. The graduation scene brought tears to my eyes. This is a must have book for every upper elementary and MS library. And, a gift to give to somone you know whose loved one has Alzheimer's.

Steve's dad has Alzheimer's and when his parents lived with us for a little while in Texas I was amazed by Steve's Mom's patience. Charlie was like a little child. He woke early and I would find him out in the dining area playing Solitaire. He would watch as I made my tea and bagel. I always asked him if he wanted a bagel and he would say no but when I turned around 1/2 of mine would be gone. So we kept the routine the same, with me asking and him saying no, but I made another 1/2 a bagel so he could sneak 1/2 of the first one I made. He didn't have a clue who I was or even who his son was most of the time, but he was always pleasant and kind. Now he is in a nursing home and knows no one. We bought him a Halloween card that plays music when you open it. Each time he opens it, will most likely be as if he hadn't heard it before. I imagine he will drive the nurses nuts with it, but it will entertain him. We hope, but who knows what is going on inside of his mind. I just hope what thought are there are good ones.

Sorry - not such a pleasant note to end this entry on. But, thinking about Alzheimer's has also caused me to think of my Gramma and how much I loved her, even when she didn't know who I was. I went back to Michigan to have my first baby and my mom told Gramma that I was her granddaughter and that I was going to have a baby. Gramma so innocently said, "Oh, I just thought she was really fat!" I have a picture of Gramma holding Mic at a week or so old. She had such a serene smile on her face. She didn't know the baby in her arms was her great-grandson, but I did and that picture still does my heart good. Not sure my current smile is as serene as her's was that day, but the memory certainly is making me smile.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Several sailboats in view through the window. Was out on the deck with Steve's binoculars to see what the deal was out by "my" island. There is a tiny island in the bay right in front of us that no one goes to, but somehow there is a white plastic chair on it. I want to go out there and just sit and read, but no way to get there. Anyway, some small power boat must have been having problems as a dinghy was out there too. No boat run up on the reef like before. If you don't have the reef charts, it looks like a great little short cut between the shore and the island, but the reef is very close to the surface there. More than a few rental boats have discovered that too late.

We went to Bottom's Up for the Wednesday spaghetti special last night. I have enough left over for two more meals. Sure was quiet in there - not high season yet. The big change was the new chairs - more comfortable that the plastic ones they used to have, but these new metal and mesh ones make it even more difficult to get near the bar so you don't slop spaghetti sauce all over you while you eat. We were the only non-boat people in the place. I envy them being able to just sit back and relax while watching a movie in the bar and then amble down to their boat for the night. I have never ambled anywhere in my life - I am too hyper. I was good - I didn't go through the books in the "library" there - I have more than I know what to do with. Looked like someone had brought in a whole box of them that there was no room for on the shelves. Most of it is really old stuff that has been gathering dust there for who knows how long.

Headed to Montessori tomorrow and will bring more books with me. Still have a bunch of them on the shelves in the apartment. Need to decide what I want to send back to NC. Guess I will send my cookbooks, though I am not sure why. We had to buy pots and pans so Steve and I could make spaghetti for dinner while he was in Greenville. Cooking for one is not my cup of tea - heck, cooking for more than one is not my cup of tea either! I just love to browse cookbooks and on a rare occasion, bake. Made brownies the day after I got down here.

I loved the movie Pay It Forward although I have not read the book by Catherine Ryan Hyde. But, when I saw The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, a 2007 Knopf title, is writeen by Hyde I dove right in. It is not a happy book, but like so many of YA novels that address problems, this one has a light at the end of the tunnel. Thirteen-year-old Cynnie has been taking care of her little brother Bill, who has Down's Syndrome, for so long she sees herself more as his mother than older sister. Cynnie loves Bill more than anything else in life and clearly he feels the same - her name, well almost her name (Thynnie), is all he can say. Their mother spends her days in her robe, with a bottle of booze of one type or another at her side and cigarette hanging out of her fingers. Cynnie is afraid she will burn the house down so she is the mother in this situation as well. Since her dad died, a steady line of boyfriends have made their way in and out of their home and her mother's bedroom. It isn't until Zack, who was much younger than her mom, moved in that Cynnie started drinking and smoking on a regular basis. You could say that Zack got her started, so she is more than a bit surprised to see him in the mandated AA meeting she attends after smashing a car into a guard rail, while trying to run away with Bill. Cynnie becomes Cynthia as she works her way through the AA program - a young woman whose goal is to gain custody of her brother when she turns 18. This is a must have for any YA collection. Teens are becoming heavy drinkers at an earlier and early age - 13 is no surprise, sadly. They need to know there are people out there who can help them, even if their own family members cannot.

Okay - now to pack up those cookbooks before we lose power. It is thundering like crazy out there and getting dark.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Why is it when you nap that you wake up grumpier and feeling more tired than before the nap? I woke up wide awake at 5 a.m. this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. Put the cat out at 5:30 and waited for Steve's alarm to go off so I could get up and read. So then at 8:30, I start to get tired and decide a nap for an hour or so would be good. Nope! I woke up grumpy, with an "I don't want to do anything" attitude. But, after listening to Mary talk about how tired she is working a full time job, a toddler in the house, and being pregnant, I decided whining was not the best way of dealing with my nap grumpies and got to work. I even washed a load of clothes and while I was outside thought about going to the beach, but that is as far as I got - a thought. It is still very hot down here!

The first thing I did was call US Air to make sure I had a reservation to take Sophie back with me and found out that basically I can't. They do not allow pets in cargo and she is too big to take as carry on. The pet and the carrier have to be less than 15 pounds and my chub of a cat is 15 lbs all by her lonesome. Called Steve to whine, but caught him at a bad time in the office so I didn't get to fuss about it. Looks like she is down here until Christmas and I will have to fly American in and out of Raleigh so I can take her back to NC with me. They will allow pets in cargo. GRRRRR!!! I am sure Steve is not going to be a happy camper as he is tired of being responsible for my cat and cleaning up her fur that flies all over. But, I can't very well starve her for a week to lose enough weight to cover the weight of a carrier.

So I buried myself in work. Just finished the review for Only 13: The True Story of Lon by Julia Manzanares and Derek Kent. It is listed as a memoir, but the story is from the first person point of view of a Thai woman who sold her virginity at age 13 and worked as a teenage prostitute in Bangkok and a seaside resort town in Thailand. She does not have pretty things to say about her country, her family, or Thai people in general. The bitterness she feels over having sold her body to send money home to an inappreciative family is scalding, but she never thought to stop doing so as it is expected of the oldest girl, who is often denied an education, to support her family. This is a culture I knew nothing about and, though this book is very poorly written, I couldn't help but want to know what this woman finally did to get herself out of the situation. She ends up marrying one of the men she had been seeing and moves to England with him, where they fight continuously, she attempts suicide, and then goes into a deep depression. Not a pretty book, but it certainly opened my eyes up to the sex-trade in Thailand that I had heard bits and pieces about in the past.

All for today. Other than my hour nap I have been working since 6 a.m. so I am ready to call it a day, at least for a bit!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I know for sure I am back in the islands since I woke up to the sound of the NFL channel both yesterday and today! Steve lives and breathes football this time of the year. We are off to Shipwreck for burgers for lunch here shortly so he can see if they are showing both the Chiefs and the Texans games on their many screens. We went shopping this a.m. up in Tutu as I drank the last Diet Coke for breakfast and he knows how grumpy I can get without my a.m. fix! The grocery stores are so different down here. The freezer aisle is full of ice cream that is so covered with freezer frost that you can't even read what kind it is. The cartons are beat up and battered. We also stopped at Blockbuster to pick up The Break-Up, one of the chick flicks I wanted to see. I figured I deserved it as we watched X-Files episodes last night. And, after watching football all day today.

No YA book to talk about today as I am not quite finished with the Thai girl bio I am reading. But, I did enjoy the picture book, Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind by Judy Finchler and Kevin O'Malley, published by Walker. Had to chuckle when I saw the title. Made me think of the comment one of the presenters at the NC School Library Media Assn. Conference said, "We leave no child untested"! Boy is that the truth. But, this book is actually quite interesting. Main character is a boy who doesn't like to read as he hasn't liked any of the books Miss Malarkey keeps offering him. He would rather play video games, but when his buddies, who also hadn't been reading, are now talking about books, he wonders if there is something to it. And, finally when the school has reached their goal of 1000 books, and the school year is about to end, Miss Malarkey knows enough about him that she has found a book that will catch his attention. Success! He is reading it in bed, under the covers with a flashlight, so he can finish it. He read the 1001 st book. Very cute book that every K-5 collection should have.

All for now. Two days in the islands and I am experiencing culture shock to say the least. Saw a few acquaintances when we went out for pizza at Sop Choppys last night. Brought Donna, the manager, some WalMart beef jerky she wanted. It is funny the things people crave down here, probably because they know they can't get them! We left as soon as a young woman came in, holding an almost empty champagne bottle, shouting a very loud and profane hello to her friends at the bar. Guess she was still celebrating a wedding she had gone to. Life revolves around the hangouts near the marinas for many of the Anglos who work down here, especially the young and single ones. One of the guys on the plane when I was coming back asked me if there are a lot of single women down here. I laughed and said no, that the men out number the women 10 to one. The women pick and choose and many of the young ones make their way through the guys on island, often never finding one they want a long term relationship with. Let's just say, the single women who stay on the island long term are more than a bit "unique"!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A very dreary day after lots of rain during the night. Glad the rain waited until Steve left so we weren't hauling in stuff in the rain. I love the room darkening drapes he hung in the bedroom. I am now sleeping through the dawn, but they didn't help at 2 a.m. when the girl across the way decided to have a party of one on her balcony. She must have been on her cell phone, but the drapes sure didn't block out her laughing. The downside of living in a condo - you can't control who moves in around you. But, I am feeling more at home here with our pictures on the walls, etc. I am looking at a Robert Lyn Nelson print of whales that I got in Hawaii back in the 1980s. Sadly, it has a water stain on it due to Steve's saltwater fish tank going wonky on us and spraying water all over. But, it has character now! :-) I have always wanted to go to Nelson's studio on Maui, but have yet to get there.

This has become the age of the "big book" when it comes to tween/teen novels. Rowling's Harry Potter titles just got larger and larger. I remember as a young teen choosing the thickest books on the shelf in my tiny K-12 school library as I knew it would last longer. Michener became one of my favorite authors - as much for the length of his books as the content. :-) The advanced reading copy of Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret is quite a heavy tome and is one I would have certainly pulled from the shelves. I want to get the review written for it before I leave for the islands so I don't have it weighing down my luggage! As 531 pages, you'd think this would be a long read, but it isn't due to the fact that a portion of the story is told via Selznick's detailed drawings. He uses a number of sequenced drawings rather than narrative to share the story of Hugo's life and obsession with the automaton his father had found in the attic of the museum he worked at. When his father dies in a fire at the museum, Hugo is forced to live with his drunkard uncle who is responsible for the clocks in the train station. Hugo finds the damaged mechanical man in the rubble of the museum and take it to his little room in the walls of the train station and begins to repair it, using the detailed drawings in his father's notebook and the parts he steals from the toymaker's booth in the station. Getting caught by the toymaker and being forced to work for the old man (Georges Melies, who did create automatons and was a filmmaker) changes Hugo's life forever, as the old man is the link to being able to complete the repairs on the mechanical man with the pen in his hand. An absolutely fascinating book about an orphaned boy and the link he has to a mysterious old man who is trying to forget his past and wonderful movies and automatons that he created. Readers will pick this book up because of the wonderful drawings and will linger long because of the fascinating story, based on historical research and fact.

Okay - time to get my act together for the day as I have meetings starting at 11:00 and going through the rest of the day.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Woke up before 6 a.m. - thinking about all the stuff I have to get done before I leave for the islands on Friday. Weds. and Thurs. are pretty much booked with meetings so I need to get as much done today as I can. Need to finish up the proposal for the AASL Conference in Reno in 2007. I love presenting on YA books at that conference - the attendees love YA literature as much as I do. :-)

Was looking through the Quill Awards online at http://www.thequills.org/2006.html, which were announced last Tuesday. Since these are voted on by readers it was no surprise that Numeroff's If You Give a Pig a Pancake won in the children's illustrated book division. Kotwinkle's Walter the Farting Dog Goes on a Cruise was one of the nominees. I have to admit I love Walter - what a cool dog, just not in my house! Friends in Alaska made the mistake of giving their dog caribou meat, but that only happened once due to the stinky results of the wild meat going through his digestive system! I would have loved to see DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane win the Middle Grades division, but it is no surprise that a Lemony Snicket title won - The Penultimate Peril. All of the titles in the YA division were great, with Eldest by Paolini winning. My choice would have been Elsewhere by Zevin, but I am sure many others would have gone for Zusak's The Book Thief. I emailed Steve last night about the winner in the sports division - a book by a woman! :-) Told him I want my own copy of Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game!: A Woman's Guide to Loving Pro Football by Holly Robinson Peet. He said I might be dangerous if I read this! It is no fun watching games without him as he isn't here to tell me - "Shh! We have neighbors!" I have a tendency to really get into the game. Anyway, there are tons of great books that won and were nominees. A good place to start when deciding on books to buy for friends and family for Christmas.

With everything going on around here I haven't had a chance to read much, but I did finish Feels Like Home by e. E. Charlton-Trujillo. And yes, that is how she wants her initials to appear - one lower, one upper. She is a native of South Texas, where this book is set, but she now lives in Madison, WI. Quite a climate change! Having lived in Texas for over a decade and driving or flying down to Brownsville and/or McAllen to teach LS courses when I taught for Sam Houston State University, I felt very comfortable in the Hispanic rich culture this novel so deftly brings to life. The friendship between the gringa, Mickey (the protagonist) and Christina, the atypical daughter in a Mexican family who has recently moved to the area to open a restaurant, is wonderful. Charlton-Trujillo writes Christina's dialog as a Spanish speaking teen would talk - a mix of Spanish and English. And, the fact that Christina's mother does not want her hanging out with a gringa is also very real. The novel begins at Mickey's father's funeral, when her older brother Danny returns to town after disappearing six years prior, after the death of his best friend at the HS football stadium. Mickey isn't ready to forgive him for leaving her, or for what happened to Roland, even if she can't remember exactly what happened that night. She does know that Danny flicking open that Zippo lighter makes her uneasy. Even Danny making references to Ponyboy and the other characters in Hinton's The Outsiders doesn't cause Mickey to let down her guard. "You ain't Darry and I ain't Ponyboy. This ain't The Outsiders... And there are no happy endings." She tries to block out the memories of them reading this book together, before he left. The references to this classic YA novel are prolific - it is practically a character unto itself. Any teen who hasn't read The Outsiders will want to read it after reading Feels Like Home. I have read it many times and I wanted to go find my copy to read again. Charlton-Trujillo takes the reader on the intense roller coaster of seventeen-year-old Mickey's emotions as she tries to come to terms with the abandonment by her mother and brother as a child and her father's recent death. Anger comes easy to Mickey, but tears and forgiveness do not.

Since I got up so early I am ready for my second Diet Coke and a bagel. :-)

Monday, October 16, 2006

It feels like ages since I have had a chance to just sit down and "talk" on this blog. A very hectic couple of weeks with NCSLMA conference attendance and then time with Steve.

The NC School Library Media Association Conference in Winston-Salem was wonderful. My favorite part was the author luncheon as Linda Sue Park spoke and she was both eloquent and funny. She spoke about her life and her writing process. Most everyone knows about A Single Shard, but my favorite Park book is one that you hear little about - Archer's Quest. A 12-year-old boy's studies are rudely interrupted when an arrow flies into his bedroom and pins his baseball cap to the wall. Right behind it is Skillful Archer, who was born in 55 BC. This is a true "guy book" with a martial arts skilled time traveler who is also a Chinese noble who has formed his own kingdom, Koguryo, which is now Korea. Accustomed to being in charge he demands that Kevin help him find his way back home and to do so they must find the tiger he was riding when he fell through time. A well written fantasy that weaves ancient history into a modern day setting. Tweenage boys will love the archery and martial arts emphasis. A wonderful book for booktalking.

On the home front - I met Steve in Kansas City last Saturday, after a 4 hour delay due to mechanical difficulties with the plane here in Greenville. I ended up puddle jumping through Chicago to get to KC that evening. But, we did go directly to the hospital so I could hold our newest grandbaby. :-) Kadynce Anne has a full head of hair and is an active newborn. Poor Monica was exhausted as she had visitors all day and we were the last in the stream. I know I should have waited until the Sunday, but I knew we were leaving on Monday and I wanted to get two visits in during the weekend, which we did. Still am working on the baby quilt, but Kady won't know that it is going to be late.

After the hospital visit, Steve took me to the theme park that he worked at when he was a teenager so we could see the Halloween displays. We waited for 45 minutes to get into the Haunted "House" - actually a campground set-up - while surrounded by little boys who were as hyper as all get out. One was even hanging on the back of my jeans and we hadn't even gotten in yet. Closer to the entrance his fear got the best of him and he went back. Good thing as I would have spun him off of me like a whirling dervish! One of the ghouls chased me in circles around Steve, who thought it quite funny. I am a wuss when it comes to this kind of thing - ghouls jumping out and screaming at you, etc. I screamed so loud back at them I had a sore throat when we left. The worst was the toilet monster - it sprayed us with with what I hope was a mist of clean water! Steve loves Halloween as much as I love Christmas and I am sure I entertained him as much as the employees who knew they had someone they could torment!

Maybe it was the toilet water that did him in, as poor Steve woke up Monday morning with a horrible head cold. We drove back to Greenville through Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky, West Virginia, etc. What a beautiful two day drive - Mother Nature had her autumn paintbrush out and the trees were a splendor of oranges, yellows, and reds. I had forgotten how beautiful the Autumn is where there aren't palm trees! Wish Steve had been feeling better so he could have enjoyed it more. My neck got sore from having to look in every direction.

Even with his horrible head cold Steve was able to get a good portion of my "honey do" list done during the week. And, we watched the first 4 DVD's of Lost, season 2. I had not seen most of them so I had a few shocks. So now I have my O'Keefe print up from Mic and Mary and other artwork that makes it feel like home. And, he got the fireplace pilot light lit so I can flip a switch and have a fire in the evening. Now all I need is Sophie and I leave for the islands on Friday and will bring her back with me.

As much as I would like to just chat via the keyboard I have a meeting summary to write. Drat!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Busy, busy! Off to the NC School Library Media Assn. Conference in Winston-Salem in a few hours. Still haven't finished packing. Do have the important stuff in the suitcase - tea bags, Luna bars, honey wheat pretzels! :-) I am doing a booktalking presentation on Friday a.m. so I need to get my books packed too. Was up late grading last night so didn't have time to pack - needed some sleep, but was still up at 1 a.m. worrying about what I hadn't gotten done. Should have gotten back up and packed!

Went to the East Carolina Literary Homecoming on Saturday and had the pleasure of listening to James Ransome and Eliza Carbone talk about their craft. Ransome took us step by step through the process of how he creates his illustrations from photographs and showed us slides of his workshop and his children. I had him autograph an alphabet book, Quilt Alphabet, that he and his wife did together for our newest grandbaby, Kady, who will join us via C-section on Friday. Also bought Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl for MJ so I can read it to him. I love doing that story! I get to see him the first week of November - Yahoo!!

Carbone discussed her research process, which is extensive, even to the point of sitting out in hurricane force winds to get the feel of what a character would be experiencing! I came home with two of her YA novels, but didn't get them autographed as I missed her autographing session. :-( Can't wait to read Blood on the River - about James Town and Storm Warriors, which is set on the Outer Banks of NC and based on a true story of African American life saving crew.

Karen, Lindsey, Libby and I were sitting together at lunch, talking about the morning presenters and the local newspaper reporter came up to talk to us. Our comments about the Literary Homecoming made the front page of the Sunday paper! :-)

All for now - really do need to pack and take care of the last minute things before I load my stuff into Bonny (my car - since it is a 007, named after Bond, but a female version! I love Brosnan's Bond, but am not a Connery fan at all.) Karen is navigating so I don't get lost! :-)