Tuesday, August 30, 2011

News of the day. No, it's not more hurricane news

My husband came roaring upstairs, "Check your email Check your email!"

At first, I thought it was news that the schools had been cancelled for another day. The 11-year-old didn't begin Middle School on Monday -- closed because of hurricane damage. (to other schools, not to hers) All schools closed today (Tuesday) as well. Was it a notice that schools were closed Wednesday, too?

It's our wonderful grandchild.
He has taken off!
He ... is ... now ... crawling!

I do hope my daughter and her husband buys those gates to block the stairs in their house very soon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is at Capstone Connect today.
Click on over to see the goodies collected there.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene -- Early Sunday Morning Report

We went to sleep Friday night with roaring winds and sheets of rain pounding on the north side of the house. We very rarely get north winds in the summertime, but because of the counter-clockwise flow of a hurricane, and it's location to our East, all of Hurricane Irene hit the north side of the house. We have only two trees directly north of the house and they were whipping around. Since they are young trees, we don't expect them to fall. This morning the last bands of rain are west of us, we are under light rain, however the winds are still blowing and will blow all day until Irene gets over land, in New England.

Trees usually fall after hurricanes, because the huge dump of rain makes the ground too soft to hold them anymore, so we'll be watching for a day or so to see what happens, My husband just came in and reported we have tons of branches down. Hmm, I know what we'll be doing this afternoon -- dragging tree limbs to the branch pile.

So far we still have electricity. Disappointing, considering all the preparations I had made for existing without electricity for a couple of days. (I'm kidding. I'm kidding.) However, since more trees could still fall on electric lines because of the wind today, I"m not thinking we're scott free, yet. A couple of million of people are out of electricity so far on the East Coast, mostly south of us.

There was no storm surge up the Chesapeake Bay, thank goodness. No flooding from that, but stream banks are flooding over as they try to handle the runoff. I hear that Long Island is expecting a storm surge later today, however.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Preparing for hurricane Irene

We spent the day preparing for Hurricane Irene to hit Maryland's Eastern Shore.
(We live on the Western shore of the Chesapeake Bay and are predicted to only get 'Tropical winds' and rain.)

My husband repaired our leaking sunporch roof today. We are crossing fingers and toes that the repair holds under the Tropical force winds and rainstorm. I spent the day getting prepared for electrical outages -- bought more batteries, cold food, etc.
We also cleared the debris away from the storm drains in the street so that they can handle the predicted 4 to 8 inches of rain.

Children around here are hoping Irene will delay school opening on Monday, but that's not likely.

Now we wait for Irene to hit town.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blog -- Pencil Tips Writing Workshop

Here's a blog for writers, written by writers. People who have been there, done that, and feel your pain. People who might have come up with answers for some of your writing problems.

Check out the Pencil Tips Writing Workshop's posts.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Today's Nonfiction Monday is being hosted by Ana María Rodríguez at Ana's Nonfiction Blog.
Hey, great name!
Click away and enjoy.

Meanwhile, I'm also going to include some other Nonfiction -- namely, our beautiful grandson. One picture of the grandson with me and another of him with my husband and the ever wonderful Lancelot. (their dog)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

We're back -- from California

We spent the last week at San Diego, California visiting my two daughters. We stayed with my oldest daughter, her husband and new baby son. He's our first grandson. Since I'm from a family of mostly girls and have raised three girls, I'm not sure about boy babies. All I can say is that he's physically more active than I remember my girls being.

While we were there, he managed to get up on his knees. He still travels pushing himself backwards and is frustrated because he was aiming for something ahead of him, but by the end of the week he learned to throw himself forward -- or to roll somewhat toward where he wanted to go. He’s going to be crawling soon and his parents will be in Trooooble.

We also enjoyed using their condominium pool (and hot tub).

On Sunday, we sailed on The Stars and Stripes, a large sailboat that competed in the America's Cup races. My daughter's husband is the captain. Tacking home back up the bay was a wee bit scary with one side or the other of the boat leaning over, not quite capsizing. (They kept saying it was impossible for boats like these to turn over.) My daughter had brought the six-month baby. On one tack, her diaper bag swept my feet out from under me and I was hanging on by one hand. I kept thinking, when they change their tack, I’ll be all right. About halfway through the tack, one of the crew noticed and got me upright again. Later the 11-year-old said she saw me, but just laughed because it was so funny. Hmmmm.

Monday, we had dinner with my younger daughter and her new husband in their new house – which is an old, 1930s hunting lodge built with lots of redwood. Although the 11-year old had brought her swimsuit, it was too chilly that evening to swim in their pool. The evening ended with the 11-year-old and her mother playing ping-pong, coached by her husband who is a professional ping-pong player. Lots of laughter and wild balls.

Tuesday -- to the Wild Animal park/ Safari Park, which is part of the San Diego Zoo, but further out into the back country. That evening, we all (including the baby) went out to a Mexican restaurant, where my daughter's husband did a lot of the ordering in Spanish.

Wednesday, my husband began a huge technical updating of all of their computer equipment, helping them convert from PCs to MACs and install Apple TV etc. It took him until Friday to complete the job. Wednesday evening -- grilled steaks and a little bit of pool time.

Thursday, my daughter's husband took off to San Francisco (a place I would have flown to, but he drove to with other crew members and the boat owner) for the boat’s yearly examination by the Coast Guard. That evening was HARRY POTTER night! I finally have seen the last installment -- not in 3-D, thank heavens. The 11-year-old insisted that we needed a large tub of popcorn, which all of us shared and weren’t able to finish. Cold Stone Creamery (ice cream) afterwards. Yum!

Friday, we went to Del Mar beach and waded in the Pacific Ocean. Although I had gathered my long skirt into a knot above my knees, several waves caught us unawares (were stronger and came higher onto the beach than expected) soaking the hem of my skirt. I now have a salt-encrusted skirt. Found a beach store with a sale, so the 11-year-old got several shirts and a long sleeved lightweight sweatshirt. Which she immediately wore to dinner at a popular hamburger place.

Saturday, we flew home and found our home a little bit stuffy because of all the closed windows, the sunporch buckets full of water from the multiple storms that had rolled through, but otherwise everything was fine.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blog -- On Beyond Words & Pictures

The students and graduates at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Writing for Children and Young Adults are writing articles about writing and the writing life. Each week or so, the group moves to a different blog to post their articles. For this week's writing advice, you should check out On Beyond Words & Pictures.

Wednesday's post, by the wonderful Tim Martin, talks about Pushing the Boundaries, how do we reach and grow as writers? Do click on through, and keep coming back to this blog to see all the wonderful articles.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Best picture books of 2011 -- so far

Well, it looks as if bloggers are beginning to pick which books they've seen this year are the best of the best.

Over at Seven Impossible Things, Julie Danielson has a list of picture book goodies you might enjoy. Click on over and check them out.

And, if you are a storyteller/ performer, you might want to take a look at this collection of books at Julia Donaldson's blog. She's British, the Children's Laureate there, so some of these books might not be available here in the states. But try the others. I'm sure they'll be fun to do.

Monday, August 15, 2011

NF Monday

I've been busy completing my assignments for Packet 1 -- for my writing course at Vermont College -- and haven't been online very much this week. I hit SEND yesterday, whisked those files out to my advisor, and raised my head to see what was happening to the rest of the world.

Ah, Nonfiction Monday is here. You can find all the links to great books to start off the school year at Amy O'Quinn's blog, a writer who specializes in Children's Nonfiction.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Blog -- Lisa Yee's Blog

If you love to read about a bubbly Children's book author's adventures (complete with lots of pictures), I'd recommend Lisa Yee's Blog, which is called, strangely enough, "Lisa Yee's Blog."

Click on over and enjoy.

Meanwhile, I'll just go hide myself with my laptop in the comfy wing chair and rewrite this month's critical essay -- again.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The big SCBWI Conference is going on now -- and you can attend Virtually

If you want to find out what's happening at the National/ International SCBWI in Los Angeles this weekend, simply click here on the link to the Official SCBWI Conference Blog. They have a team of bloggers frantically typing away during each speech, panel, and workshop, bringing those words to you.

Granted, some reporters seemed more fixated on the speakers clothes than the talk itself last year, but I have hopes to be able to learn more about the program this year.

Bruce Coville was the Keynote speaker.
Judy Blume, Henry Winkler, Harold Underdown, and more, much more.

On the other hand, I think I'm going to go blind from being forced to look at the wild background stripes of that blog while I read it. I wonder if they can tone it down.

Friday, August 5, 2011

More posts about writing

I was browsing Ingrid Sundberg's blog today when I discovered she had compiled a list of tidbits she carried away from our 10 day Residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts for Writing for Children and Young Adults. Something I had meant to do, but never got around to it. Click on the link to see.

She also has links to a multitude of writing articles done by faculty and students at Vermont College, otherwise known as VCFA-WCYA. That list is here.

Click on over and enjoy.

Then tell her how much you liked her blog when you see her at the SCBWI conference in LA this weekend. (She'll be one of the authors with bright PINK hair.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Writing Progress

The past few days have been dedicated to creative work. This time I'm taking a picture book -- which a Vermont College advisor and I agreed looked more like an outline of a longer story than a picture book -- and I'm expanding it.
What Fun!

Instead of sitting at my computer, waiting for inspiration, I already have a workable outline, complete with beginning, three attempts, and success. The writing of it has just been whizzing along and I'm already at my required 20 pages for the month.

I don't want to stop this story to work on something else. I want to keep going with this one. But I"m also required to turn in 20 pages of revised work, so I will have to put this novel aside (complete with all sorts of notes as to what I want to do next) and pull up something already written which needs to be revised.

But today, I'm done.
Time for excercise. I have been going to the pool to swim laps after dinner for several weeks. But a cold, rainy front has come through and the pool will be cold. So my excercise the past days has been walking in a closed mall.

Very dangerous.
To the pocketbook (SALE at Talbots and Macys and...)
To my waistline -- because I pass three Ice Cream places and two Annie's Pretzels. Have you tried the Almond pretzels? Yummy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Write at your Own Risk

The faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts, Writing for Children and Young Adults just created a new blog. I can only assume that it will be full of great writing advice or perhaps glimpses into their writing lives. (They are multi-published authors)

The blog is called Write at Your Own Risk. I actually was on campus last January when the sign on the skating rink, Skate at your own risk, was changed in the middle of one night to Write at your own risk. How appropriate for something at a college of writing. And what an appropriate title for a blog of writing teachers.

Click on over to Write at Your Own Risk, and add them to your feed, or make a note to visit them at least once a week.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

For your weekly links to reviews of great Nonfiction books, click on over to Lori Calabrese Writes!