Saturday, June 06, 2009

What a gorgeous day! Sat outside for awhile drooling over all the cool international sites in the Conde Nast Traveler magazine while poor Sophie hid from the mockingbirds before catching up a bit on email.

We spent the morning cleaning house as the realtor showed it this afternoon. The "looker" wanted to see the subdivision pool so maybe they were very interested. A house similar in size to ours sold down the street so sales are starting to pick up. We drove down to a restaurant on the Kentucky River for lunch. I am still tasting the burger - yuck!! Won't be ordering a burger there again, but what a gorgeous day to sit and watch the river. Two pontoon boats on the river - they have to be crazy with the logs and other debris in the river after all the rain we've had.

Cover art on the June 15th issue of Time shows a twitter posting on a iPhone. I had to chuckle as I read the article about sharing your life in 140 spurts. Twitter was not this big when I wrote the article for YALS on cell phone novel bestsellers in Japan. In the U.S., we are using the cell phone to "talk" to each other rather than for authoring books 140 characters at a time. I am perplexed as to why we need to share what we had for breakfast via our cell phones, but I guess it isn't much different than what I am doing right now on this blog, but in short bursts during the day. Perhaps if I twittered I might actually share the "stuff" I remind myself to add to the blog and then I don't find the time to blog for days and having long since forgotten the "tidbit" I wanted to share.

The article that caught my attention more than the cover story on the "cultural force" twitter has become is the Coeli Carr's "No Souvenirs" article about adding radio frequency identification (RFID) to surgical sponges so they can be tracked. In other words, if the surgeon "forgets" to remove all the sponges during your surgery they can track them! This may seem like a bit much but I think it is a superb idea. Doctors will be more careful and if a mistake should be made they can find the sponge. Mic had his adenoids removed when tubes were put in his ears and the doctor left a sponge behind. Poor Mic had a nasty nasal discharge and the pediatrician kept saying he had a rash under his nose and sinus trouble, but Mic was miserable. It took months of going to the pediatrician with no results until I finally went to a different ear, nose and throat doc than the one who did Mic's surgery. He looked up Mic's nose, and before I could blink, stuck a thin nosed pair of tweezers up there and pulled out the nastiest smelling gross piece of gauze you have ever seen or smelled. And, before I could insist I wanted it for "evidence," he rushed out and flushed it down the toilet. So much for being able to do anything about the discomfort Mic went through and the multiple trips to the pediatrician. Tracking surgical sponges - I say, yeah - go for it!

I mentioned the writing/children's literature degrees that the new YA authors have in my last blog. New YA author Tonya Cherie Hegamin is also high educated, with an MFA in Writing for Children and is an alum of a writer's retreat. Hegamin calls herself a poet, but I would say she is also a gifted novelist. Her debut YA novel M+O 4EVR is stunning. This beautifully crafted contemporary novel about two childhood friends who become very different teens, drifting apart as they mature, also includes a poignant tale of a runaway slave who falls in love with the Native American who helps her escape. O, whose given name is Opal, is raised by her grandmother, the storyteller who weaves the slavery tale into the stories she tells O and M (Marianne) when they are little girls. They play in the woods near the ravine where the slave girl ran to her death rather than be captured. M is running with the wild crowd, while O hides behind the hat she pulls low on her head and too big guy's clothes, watching her childhood friend, the one she loves, leave her behind. One of the teens will find herself at the edge of this ravine and make a choice that will affect both their families. This is not a novel written in verse, but the economy of words in this poignant debut is the work of a gifted poet, a gift author.

I read Hegamin's novel a couple of weeks ago, so when I started going through the new Houghton Mifflin titles I was delighted to find Hegamin's debut picture book, Most Loved in All the World, about a girl who is too little to help her mother pick cotton but not too little to carry water to the fields during the day and watch her mama work on a quilt at night that tells a story. Cozbi A. Cabrera's illustrations bring the little girl and her mama to live,l as well as the quilt that tells the story of freedom - the safe cabin, the tree with the moss on the north side, and the brightest star. Mama finishes the quilt, puts it over her arm, and takes her daughter into the night where she hands her, and the quilt, over to another woman who will take her to safety. Mama return to the fields and her role of helping other slaves escape to freedom. Hegamin includes an afterward for parents and teachers discussing the role quilts played in the Undeground Railroad as well as a short bibliography of further reading. Again, Hegamin beautifully exhibits her ability to tell a poignant story with an economy of words. A wonderful new title to share with children during storytime and to add to the recommended titles for teachers to use in their classroom during African History Month.

Sounds like they are having a party at the pool - hope they don't go too late. I don't mind being lulled to sleep by music, just not this kind of music! Now to finish watching Harper's Island - glad this is a TV show and not a R rated movie or I couldn't handle it. Kind of like Ten Little Indians with characters being killed off one by one.