You can't tell by the picture but my hand's shaking from all the work. I'm telling you, I sweat on this one. And hurt for several days after. I still do sitting at this machine. But lest you think I am jaded about working, I'll leave you with this shot of a tiny flower that grows on the farm. I took it in spite of being dog-tired.
Also, I was remiss yesterday to mention Anonymous in my list of folks helping keep the blog going with comments regarding how we Americans are so cool and in control. That's my reading of it, anyway.
And, Michelle, you'll have to keep coming back to the blog because Tina is on the verge of deciding what Avon products she's about to order, and I told her I'd post her list. And so if you don't visit often, you just might miss placing her order. And the more you visit, the higher my counter for the blog goes, and then I don't have to keep visiting and visiting my own site to make it look like my blog gets hit by a ton of folks. If you would, too, let your parents, Leslie, Jenny, the Coopers, and Amber know we're thinking about them and praying for them. And Brad and Terri and the girls, the Bygels, the Reeds (the whole bunch of them out at the homestead), the Carrs, Emmett, Peggy, the Smiths, Miss Dortha, the Ungers, Tyler, Max and Hazel and their bunch, Berverly, the Escudiers, the Southerlands, and the rest. I'm trying to go row by row at church and so if I'm forgetting anyone, I'll blame it on this Swedish air.
I'm still waiting for any commentary from the Republic of Texas. Michelle, are you out there? Greetings to all over at Lubbock Baptist. To my brother, who has been leaving messages, you're too funny and I miss IMing with you (I'll blame it on the time difference and not on me not wanting to IM with you). Go Red Raiders!
This is Ingemar holding Lukas and petting one of his dairy cows. It's funny how the cows know him from anyone else and will approach him like dogs will approach their owners. Only one hopes the cows won't get up on their hind hooves and try and jump up on the owner.The face off: Lukas v. Cow. Who will win?
Yesterday afternoon, I went with my father-in-law over to the farm to help with the mowing. I'll tell you what--when he said the place needed some mowing, he meant it. And I went along and helped. I couldn't let one of my elders do all the work either, that'd mean he was showing me up, right, and so I'd take the machine over every so often and try my hand at the work (and I mean work because the grass in some places was easily 5, 6 inches high). Boy, was I sore after. But I slept good. Real good. But again, no visual proof of the fact. Next time, which might just be today, I'll make sure to take a camera.
And Tigy, I suggest you check the local customs book for peeing in public before doing anything similar in Paris. Just in case.
Here's a portion of my trip: I visited El Paso (Ysleta Elementary, specifically) where I got to meet some very enthusiastic and great writers--go sixth graders! Thanks to Mrs. Hernanadez, Mr. Silva, all the other fine teachers there who are very student-focused and about real literacy. Anyway, I've got no pictures of that visit to upload because I seem to have lost my camera on my last hours there. I recall very clearly taking some great shots of J reading his poem about his friends' noses (what a great revision he put together!), A finishing the reading off with another poem, and everybody else in between. Some nice shots of the mountains. But all gone unless Rich Yañez, magic man, does some kind of mumbo-jumbo and it appears as if out of thin air. So, no pics of my part of the trip. I'll tell you, too, that that Heathrow, if you can avoid it, do so at all costs. I thought some US airports were a hassle, but not compared to this one. Oh, easy enough to figure out, but how many twists and turns can there be in one building to get to the place where you need to be? But the people are nice enough. I did get to Gothenberg safely and mostly on time, so thank God for that. I did get to Sweden down one bag, but that was delivered this afternoon. That's my part of it--Tina has't lost her camera, but she has been having a hard time transferring her pics to my brother-in-law's computer (that is a Swedish set up, so the keys are all over the place and all kinds of others that I have no clue what are: ä§ö¨¤). So give me a sec and I'll try to figure it out.
For my friends in India (Tigy and the rest), the folks in Sweden drive on the right side of the read like we do in the States, they don't have as much traffic on the road, elephants don't have the right of way because you just don't see them, and hardly a Swede uses his car horn to warn other drivers that they're about to create a lane where there isn't one, so no driving videos. Sorry.
Austin Middle School/Gayle Benage, Librarian: pictured above is what Lori the day before called the pebbled walkway, or something like that. When we asked Gayle about it, or Lisa (one or the other; again, my memory fails), she said, "Yeah, pebbles if you're a giant." I didn't get a pic of the school sign, knowing this path that leads directly to the library by the backway was the only pic I could take. The path to book haven, right. Hey, S, it was the best answer you gave to my question talking before the presentation: Q: So, S, where are you going to college? A: Either Harvard or Yale. The sky's the limit. Shoot for it.
Java Makes Me Jump! night @ Barnes and Noble: Dr. Bailey prepared me in advance about this event at the Irving Mall: "You never know: you might get 50 people in the audience, you might get seven." My thinking is simple: if I get two, but two who are all about reading, then that's all we need. We got more than two, not quite 50. I monopolized the time, talking non-stop just about. I should've quit, though, because I understand some of the students had booktalks ready. Sorry. But I was just so excited. Later we met at this great restaurant, Via Reál located in Las Colinas Plaza, owned by Fran Lively Mathers. And lively she is. I know this because she visited our table, and she said something so interesting: meaning these librarians, "You all are our future." I'd always heard that said about students, but the way she explained it was that educators are the ones in the classroom today, every day, teaching our kids who then become our future. Though I loved the chicken I had, better even were the vegetables. The grilled baby carrots are to die for!
Travis Middle School/Amy Hankamer, Librarian (05/09/08): Amy runs a tight ship, and she knows her readers so well, down to what areas of the library the students visit more often than others. She plans on informally shifting some books she just knows her readers would pick up from where they're shelved to the section titled "short stories." And her own boy, J, is so awesome! A reader and a gamer both. Cool meeting you, J.
Bowie Middle School (trust me, far as the sign is)/Hope Krum, Librarian: Wow! This group was way mixed--sixth, seventh, and eighth graders all represented, ESL students and ELA both. Kudos to the four eighth grade guys who did a readers' theater of a section of my The Whole Sky Full of Stars. Then the questions came. And it was the best that a girl started us off, some guys and girls added theirs, and a girl ended: the final question I wasn't able to address since we ran out of time: Q: Why don't you write about girls? A: I've tried and I got it all wrong, in my opinion. I don't want to disrespect that particular audience, but I've got some ideas, so you'll get your book. Hey, read the following short stories included in Finding Our Way to read a few female heroes I've written: "The Dive," "SylvieSylvieSylvie," "Andy and Ruthie," and "My Self Myself."
Lamar Junior High School/Cindi Rockett, Librarian: What a way to end the week. First things first, though: I hope your boy's doing well, Cindi. Right before heading over, she got a call that her boy'd got a cut in the head and she left me in the quite capable hands of two of the others: Hope and Amy, who joined me in Cindi's absence. There I talked a good bit to a large group of readers and after met with T, A, and F, who I'd met the night before at JAVA at B&N. Too cool you all are.
All I can say is that these middle school librarians've got it together. I told Dr. Lea Bailey that I'd never seen a group this large of educators all focused on the same goal, reading young folks. They are quite the family, and Irving (TX) ISD is so fortunate to have them all at this time in this place. And from what I understand from speaking to each of them, their administrators are so supportive. I so want this group to adopt me as their writer. It was an awesome time.