July 31, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009—Tomorrow morning, bright and early, Rob will be at the starting line at Babson College for the Pan-Mass Challenge. His training has gone very well, though this week he ended up with a lousy head cold. Bad timing on that, but he’s determined to be ready for the event. Tomorrow is Wellesley to Bourne, for a total of 84 miles; Sunday is up and over the Cape Cod canal via the Bourne Bridge, then all the way out to Provincetown, 79 miles total for the day.
A big thanks to everyone who sponsored Rob’s ride and for the many messages of good wishes!! Money raised by PMC riders goes to cancer care and treatment at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Rob’s met his official $4,200 fundraising commitment, and he’s going for $5,000. And beyond fundraising, he’s looking forward to being part of this amazing two-day event!
We’re going see him off at the start and meet him at the finish in P-town. And since the Cape is so wonderful at this time of year (any of time really), we’re going to stay for a week’s vacation.
July 23, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009—We were about a third of the way to my daughter’s day camp this morning when we realized that—while our mildly wounded cat was safely tucked in his kitty crate for the visit to the vet’s after camp drop-off—we had forgotten the camp backpack. Turned around, went back home, grabbed the backpack, and started out again. Got to camp just barely on time, was a bit late to the vet’s, now back home again with the cat napping comfortably upstairs, recovering from a neighborhood scuffle Tuesday evening. Our other cat has been trying, unsuccessfully, to wrest control of my computer mouse, and now has turned her attention to grooming atop my desk. The dog was napping, but just let loose a comical howl in answer to an ambulance on Main Street a couple of blocks over. All of us are attempting to ignore the noise of pool construction coming from next door.
So now it’s my turn to settle in. Blogging sometimes help when I’m out of my usual morning routine. So does reading. Thankfully, my recent library picks include Moon, Have You Met My Mother? The Collected Poems of Karla Kuskin (Laura Geringer Books, Harper Collins, 2003; ages 5 and up). This is not the first time I’ve checked out these poems, but their selection resonates more strongly with all this animal business at our house lately, in particular, the poems in the first sections, “I Do Not Understand Arf” and “I Do Not Wish I Were a Cat.”
First, from the introduction:
Once, sixty years ago, there was a child
who had some storms inside herself
but was, on the surface, rather mild.
She had a round face,
dark eyes and hair,
and she spent a lot of time
drawing pictures and
that came out of the storms
or the mildness
or some other mysterious where.
See the rest of this introductory poem and the first 70 pages of the hardcover edition—several wonderful poems, with illustrations by Sergio Ruzzier—plus acknowledgments and jacket at the publisher’s site.
For our cat, who sadly did find trouble, this poem by Karla Kuskin (you can find the illustrated version on p. 23 of the link above):
our Tootsie creeps
looking for a little trouble
while the city sleeps.
With all the rain and dog walking lately, I also appreciate this one, in the section “Spring Again, Spring Again, Spring …” (originally from Kuskin’s Soap Soup):
Out to walk,
dog and I
raced the clouds,
saw the sky
grey with rain.
Dog and I
raced home again.
Happy Poetry Friday! Check out this week’s roundup at A Year of Reading.
p.s. The One-Card Library Tour resumes next week when three young friends are out of camp. Wellesley or Weston library. Maybe Wayland. One of the Ws, at this writing anyway.
July 19, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009—Headed to Vermont College of Fine Arts this weekend to attend the Good & Evil Symposium. The event was great, but more than that, those of us who were day guests were welcomed so warmly by the members of the MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults. I left envious of those who are part of the summer residency! I think my writing buddy, Nandini, who initially suggested the symposium, might feel the same. (She’ll be posting some photos upon her family’s return from Vermont.)
Special highlights for me included meeting (in person vs. the blogosphere) the wonderful poet and VCFA faculty member Julie Larios. Julie and Tim Wynne-Jones, clad in black and white, traded an array of quotes, and a few quips, to kickstart our day’s discussion of the roles and forms of evil and good in children’s writing. Author Nancy Werlin, author/editor Deborah Noyes, and editor Stephen Roxburgh were featured guests.
I felt privileged to have joined in on lunch with Nandini, Lindsey Lane, and VCFA faculty members Uma Krishnaswami and Kathi Appelt. Also caught up with New England SCBWIers Anna Boll and Sally Riley—great to see you both! And, throughout the day, met many others who shared talk of writing as well as their reflections on the program (I think the word “intense” was used most often. Intense in a good way. Also, “supportive,” “encouraging,” and “focused on craft”). So, yes, the day was about discussing good and evil in children’s literature, but it turned out to be much more.
After the dinner bbq, I had to leave to make my way back to Massachusetts. But I drove home inspired.
July 15, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009—Our 9-year-old friend and budding photographer, Kiki, has some great photos from our dog walk at Elm Bank the other day. See Nandini’s site for those. Nice job, Kiki!
The Danforth Museum of Art linked to a June post of mine talking about art as inspiration to writers and including mention of the museum’s annual juried exhibition. I’m flattered to be cited among news articles on the museum’s site. By the way, the show runs until August 2.
Looking forward to this Saturday’s symposium on “good and evil” by Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Program. More soon on that!
July 14, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009—I enjoy keeping up with posting and blog reading, but have been pretty summer-y about that lately. One day falls into the next. Next thing you know, it’s a week later. Luckily, I’ve been able to keep a better writing schedule. Just finished several haiku, though plan to keep trying my hand at those as summer goes on.
Had a great walk with the new pooch and Nandini’s family, including their sweet pup, this morning at Elm Bank. Nandini and I talked a little about her new YA manuscript, which I’m privileged to be reading. I’m almost done with it, and it is wonderful!!
Kiki is chronicling their dog encounters this summer via photography. I’m linking to some of her shots here. Thanks, Kiki, for your care in photographing Mr. B. today—can’t wait to see those photos!
July 8, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009—Just after the 4th of July parade last Saturday, we received a call from the Baypath Humane Society in Hopkinton. A sweet dog, whom we had visited and walked the day before, was cleared to go home with us if we wanted to take him. He had tested fine with cats, something we were interested in knowing given that Cat 1 and Cat 2 hadn’t been formally asked if they were interested in a dog joining the family. His lab work showed he was in good health. And, when we first met him, his face said, “Hey, so what about it?” So while we hadn’t expected to pick him up til after the holiday weekend, the shelter was eager to place the little guy (actually, the medium-sized guy—about 65 lbs) … and we went home with him 4th of July afternoon.
So it’s a whole new kind of routine around here, having a dog. Yep, it’s more work, but because dogs live in the moment, it’s reminding us to do so, too. Actually, requiring us too, at least as far as checking how he reacts to different situations and how we work with him. Glad to say we’ve moved past the carefully orchestrated introductions with the cats (who’s behind which door, and which door is now open? Screwball comedy-like). Cat 2 is actually at this moment sitting on my desk, while the dog is tucked down by my feet—they’ve acknowledged each other without either one signaling potential for chase. That’s progress. A couple of issues we’re working on with dog training, but considering the pooch’s background of having bounced around a couple of homes, he’s doing really well! And we’re getting lots of exercise with all the walking.
So before this becomes any more of a baby-bragging blog entry (say that five times fast), just want to give a shout-out to the many folks we talked to while conducting our dog search, including shelter volunteers and dog “foster families,” who do such wonderful work helping animals in need of homes!
And, of course, must include a photo:
July 3, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009—Have been reading a lot of haiku lately, and reading about haiku. The more I read and read about, the more I’m appreciating this type of poetry and how it makes you stop and look at smaller moments or the essence of a moment. Am also trying my hand at writing some. More on that soon.
Jumped in on Laura Salas’ 15 Words or Less Poetry again this week. That’s a great challenge as far as kickstarting my writing on Thursdays. Often go back and want to edit what I’ve posted, but since the challenge includes writing a quick poem, I try not to worry too much about that.
Tomorrow is the 4th. Our town has a classic Fourth of July Parade, complete with fire engines from stations across the region, clowns on stilts, marching bands, politicians … My daughter’s elementary school has a float this year, so instead of watching the parade from the sidelines, we’ll be marching. I don’t believe I’ve ever been in a Fourth of July parade. Fingers crossed we have a window of good weather tomorrow morning, although we’re so unaccustomed the sun lately, a bright day might leave us squinting like a bunch of moles down Main Street.