Monday, December 28, 2009

My Town Monday: San Diego bugs (+ 2 contests)

In the middle of all the festivities, it's time for a My Town Monday post! So, I am closeting myself and my laptop away from my noisy family to spend a little time putting together the post and hanging out with all of you.

This week features...bugs and creepy crawlies around San Diego County.

Bugs, Christmas, New Year's Eve? Don't even look for a connection. There isn't one!

My adorable critique partner, Kathy Krevat, found a bug in her backyard, emailed me a jpeg of said bug and asked if I could identify it. I happen to be doing some research on assassin bugs (also called kissing bugs) for Sherry's fourth mystery, i so don't do famous (Surprise, Editor Wendy! ;) ). And there's your twisty windy explanation for how this post came about.

Here are a few facts about some bugs in San Diego County:

*Watch out for black spiders with an hour glass shape on the abdomen. These are western black widows. The poison from a black widow's bite is five times more toxic than the poison from a rattlesnake bite.

*If you find a cobalt blue pillbug, you've spotted a pillbug with a virus (iridovirus). Researchers from the University of California at Riverside and at Berkeley are hot on the trail of this ill pillbug (intentional rhyme).

*We have four species of fireflies, but not one of them flashes light.

*In the summer, you'll find lots of large green beetles called figeaters or green fruit beetles. They have a loud buzz and fly around as though they've spent too much time at the local watering hole.

Here is Kathy's mystery bug. Can you identify it? Tell us anything about it?

Please pop over to the My Town Monday blog to see what others in the group are posting about. ALSO, I'LL NAME THE MYSTERIOUS BUG THERE.

And abruptly changing topics:

Random House gave Blogger Bookworm Readers a copy of i so don't do spooky and and an ARC to use in a giveaway. The details are here. Thank you to Bookworm Readers and Random House.

WHILE AT THE ORTHODONTIST, Child #4 stumbled upon a contest to win a copy of i so don't do spooky through the American Cheerleader magazine. Enter online here.



sources:
http://www.sdnhm.org/research/entomology/entofaq.html
http://www.kaweahoaks.com/html/assissin_bug.html

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wishing you a most joyous season!!



A most joyous season from our household to yours!!!

Oh, and the photo? That's my Christmas gift from Child #4. It's mostly likely the flashiest and most expensive piece of jewelry from her elementary school's Holiday Gift Shop! Beautiful

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nook or Kindle

The other day I stumbled across a disturbing list. Apparently, my house is filling up with disturbing lists.

This time, the list belongs to Mr. Summy.

It's a list of possible Christmas gifts for me.

At the top is: Nook? Kindle?

I can vaguely recall a conversation of about a week about when Mr. Summy questioned me about these devices. Thinking we were having a state-of-the-art conversation about publishing, I merrily expounded away.

Now I see he was trying to determine my preference. Nook or Kindle? Kindle or Nook?

IS HE OUT OF HIS MIND????

We've been married almost 23 years. He should know exactly why I can NEVER own either a Nook or a Kindle.



I love a hot bath.
I read in a hot bath.
I fall asleep.

Splat.


(Yes, a book was harmed in the making of this post.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Incredible Signing!!! And a giveaway!! (My Town Monday: The Yellow Book Road, La Mesa, CA)

Yesterday afternoon was an INCREDIBLE INCREDIBLE HEART-STOPPING signing event at the Yellow Book Road, San Diego's largest independent children's bookstore. Seriously, it's THE place to shop. The people who work there know EVERYTHING about kid lit.

Here are some photos of the event. They were taken by various people who picked up my camera and clicked away. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post for a link to Vodka Mom's blog and a great giveaway.

There were A LOT of people. As in over one hundred! A huge thank-you to all these folks who came out during a busy season.

This is me and Detective Sergeant Joe Bulkowski of the San Diego PD. Joe's my go-to guy when I have questions for the books about police procedure and evidence and crime. I talk about some of the stuff I've asked him and how that's shown up in i so don't do mysteries, i so don't do spooky and i so don't do makeup. This detective has actually won an award for catching so many San Diego crooks via fingerprints. He talks about one of the cases, does a fingerprinting demonstration and then fingerprints kids for free. It's a pretty fun presentation. Joe and I have known each other for forever and we can really kibbitz around. Although I'm funnier than he is. Oh, hi Joe!

My good friends, the Eileens, setting up the food table. These women are THE best with the best name. My mother was also named Eileen. And my daughter's middle name is Eileen. Pretty much, I've never met an Eileen I didn't love!

The cupcake cake! Ta da! Thank you, Judie McElroy. Cute AND scrumptious.

The fam! Except for Child #1 who was home with a yucky fever :(

Last but not least, a shout-out to Sydney from Encinitas. She's a very bright, articulate, interesting 8th grader I met at a Barnes & Noble signing last year. I was THRILLED that she talked her dad into driving all the way to this event. Watch out for this kid. She's going FAR!

What can I say about Vodka Mom? She's hilarious. She has a huge heart. She's a teacher. A mom. A blogger. And she has a couple of i so don't do spooky giveaways--a book and a t-shirt! You'll love her. You can find her and details on the giveaways right here.

And click here to see what the other My Town Monday folks are posting about.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Child #4 makes a list

Important background info: Child #4 is NINE YEARS OLD.


I'm a huge list maker. Apparently this habit is rubbing off on Child #4. I found this list on the kitchen counter. It was next to her math homework and her Classic Color markers.

Here's what it says:

To Do List:
1. Sign book
2. piano practice
3. make (I erased the boy's name to protect the innocent) fall in love with me
4. do nails
5. find preasant for Jacklyn

At the bottom of the list, there is a heart that's inscribed "i love you mom" and then our initials below.

make X fall in love with me

There is so much wrong and worrisome with that sentence. My heart is already aching for her. This talented, gorgeous, generous girl should never have to work at getting someone to fall in love with her. Any guy who doesn't see her for the gem she is isn't worth the trouble. Obviously. Oh, I just want to wrap her up in a big thick cocoon, safe from heartbreak and disappointment in love. And she's only nine... Sigh.

Time for a mother-daughter chat. Mind you, she may have already forgotten about the list. I'm pretty sure the "practice piano" never happened!

And in exciting news....

i so don't do spooky was the #1 bestseller last week at my local Barnes & Noble.!!!
AND i so don't do mysteries was #2!!! THANK YOU ONE AND ALL FOR THE SUPPORT!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Town Monday: The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights



It's the holiday season. You're in San Diego. What can you do to celebrate that is uniquely us?

THE SAN DIEGO BAY PARADE OF LIGHTS!

We're talking roughly 80 boats, all lit up, cruising the San Diego Bay for about 1 1/2 hours. The parade starts with fireworks at 5:30 pm at Shelter Island and ends at the Ferry Dock, Buoy 22A, Coronado Island around 7:30 pm. Here's the actual schedule.

This year, the parade runs two Sunday evenings (Dec. 13 and Dec. 20).

Believe it or not, I have NEVER seen the Parade of Lights. I think everyone else in my family has, though.

I'd like to view the boats from the Berkeley Passenger Ferry Boat (built 1890, moored at the Embarcadero and part of the San Diego Maritime Museum). Apparently, from the Berkeley, you get a close-up view of the parade around 6:30 pm AND a buffet dinner. Sounds like a winning combo!

For reservations on the Berkeley, call (619) 234-9153 extension 101 or sign up online at the San Diego Maritime website. I'm posting this info as much for me as for you. ;) MAYBE I'll get a chance to go on the 20th. But maybe not as next weekend is crazy-busy for me. Which is probably the case every year and explains why I still haven't been!

Please pop over to the My Town Monday blog to see what the rest of the gang is up to!

AND CHANGING TOPICS....Have you ever visited Tabitha at Writer Musings? She's delightful, forces me to answer interesting interview questions and is GENEROUSLY GIVING AWAY a copy of i so don't do spooky AND a copy of i so don't do mysteries!! Click here for the interview. Thank you, Tabitha! (Although I generally don't like to admit that I get stuck when writing! ha!)

Also, The Happy Nappy Bookseller has a giveaway of i so don't do mysteries through today.

So, off you go. Go comment at Writer Musings and on The Happy Nappy Bookseller's blog and win books.




sources:
http://www.sdparadeoflights.org/
http://www.sdparadeoflights.org/event_schedule.shtml
http://sandiego.about.com/od/familyfun/tp/tp_holiday.htm
http://www.ecoronado.com/profiles/blogs/san-diego-bay-parade-of-lights?xg_source=activity

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Very quick post to say....

The signing at Santee's Barnes and Noble this evening was a HUGE success!! HUGE! Thank you one and all for the support and especially thank you to Kate of B&N who set up the event and Heather Bloomfield who did all the publicity work for the fundraiser. Great job, ladies!!

Go here to win a copy of Go the Happy Nappy Bookseller's blog to win a signed copy of i so don't do mysteries. The contest is open until Monday.

And...Teens Read Too gave i so don't do spooky a FIVE-star rating! Click here for the Teens Read Too review

Mood:

Friday, December 11, 2009

interviews and reviews! Ta da!

Not sure who out of you guys reads The Happy Nappy Bookseller's blog. If you do, you already know she's an independent thinker with an interesting take on life.

Here's The Happy Nappy Bookseller's review of i so don't do spooky. She loved it! Yay!

And here's her interview with moi and a holiday giveaway! You'll like the questions.


Also, come visit me at Eileen Cook's blog where I'm being grilled. You know how wild and crazy that woman is. I certainly know it now that I shared a room with her in Oklahoma City last September! Anyway, Eileen had the audacity to ask me what I was like as a teen!!! And in case you missed that delightful photo of me at 16 years old posted by Sarah Laurence, Eileen tossed it up on her blog.

**I'll be signing at the Santee Barnes & Noble (9938 Mission Gorge Rd, Santee, CA) from 6-8 pm today Friday, Dec. 11. And doing a little presentation with the police detective I call to help me with research. It's a fundraiser for our school, so please mention Carlton Oaks when you check out, and B&N will donate 20% of your purchase back to the school. Please come visit! :)**

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On the day of I SO DON'T DO SPOOKY's release...the unexpected happens



Yesterday, i so don't do spooky was unpacked and set up on shelves in bookstores all over the U.S. and Canada. No doubt the unpacking will continue the rest of this week (maybe Random House releases books on Tuesdays so that they're out of boxes and ready to be bought by Saturday?). Nonetheless, Sherry and company were out and about in the world yesterday, and I'd planned a nice day to celebrate.

First, I had breakfast with my writing critique group, and you know how much I love them. Next, I bought a beautiful gold stamp pad to use with the new acrylic stamp (cute robot) that I'll use at signings. Then, a couple of bookstores emailed to ask me to come in and sign stock. Which I happily did. Very fun.

And then I picked up Child #3 and drove him to the high school for his math class. (Remember he's my brilliant 8th grader who inherited his father's math gene and goes to high school for math). Child #3 asked me to wait in the parking lot for him as a treat so that he didn't have to walk back to middle school. I had my laptop and had left Sherry and Josh in a bit of an argument, so was glad to sit in my van and write for an hour.

Which turned into more than an hour BECAUSE THE HIGH SCHOOL WAS PLACED UNDER LOCKDOWN!!! Two men were burglarizing a nearby house. The owner came home, interrupted them. They stabbed him, then ran out. At least one of the suspects, THE ONE WITH A GUN, ran onto the high school campus!

Child #3 was barely in the classroom, when the door was locked behind him. Which means my curly, blond-haired angel was walking outside on campus at the exact same time as a crazy criminal with a gun! Yikes. Yikes. Yikes.

Anyway....no students were injured. I'm not sure about the condition of the homeowner, but I think he's okay based on the wording of last night's news report. The suspects are still at large.

And that, my dear bloggy friends, is story of i so don't do spooky's release day!!!

Now, on a happy note, please pop over to Shelf Elf's blog where she has a delightful interview with me. Seriously, she asked some very fun, very different questions. And she still has falling snow!


Oh, and Happy Birthday to my sister!

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Town Monday: San Diego Gingerbread Houses



Sunday morning, I ate breakfast next to this gingerbread house. Mr. Summy and I were at the swanky San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina for Mr. Summy's office holiday party. Remember how I did not want to go? Well, I ended up having a really good time. We even won $150 in Target (my home away from home!) gift cards!!! Then we stayed over. Hence, the breakfast next to the gingerbread house.



In the lobby, there's a display of three gingerbread houses. If you look closely, you will see it's based on the story of the three little pigs! Adorable and creative. I love the angel pasta used to represent straw.

Each year, around the end of November to the beginning of the December, a hotel in our fine city hosts the San Diego Gingerbread City Contest for the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County. (That's quite a mouthful! But a good cause, nonetheless.)

In interesting trivia...
-National Gingerbread Day is actually in June.
-The gingerbread man first showed up in the court of Elizabeth I of England when she had gingerbread men baked in the likeness of some of her guests.
-The Crusaders introduced gingerbread to Europe.
-Ginger has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, especially as a digestive aid.
-In medieval times, gingerbread was more of a candy.

Totally changing tacks....



i so don't do spooky will be in bookstores TOMORROW!!! As in Tuesday, December 8!!! I am very excited. And a little nervous. It's a bit like leaving your child at school on the first day. Good luck, Sherry! I will be thinking of you. Choose your friends carefully. Be yourself. Have fun.

Please visit The Divining Wand where Larramie has gone to a lot of trouble to write a review/introduction to i so don't do spooky. You'll enjoy it.

And, of course, you'll want to visit our My Town Monday blog to see what the rest of the gang is up to!


sources:
http://www.beachcalifornia.com/beach/gingerbread-contest-sandiego.html
http://www.beachcalifornia.com/california/gingerbread-house-contests-california.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gingerbread_man
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gingerbread
http://www.godecookery.com/ginger/ginger.htm

Ginger Bread Houses on Foodista

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bah Humbug!



Oh, bah humbug.

I am so grumpy today.

Child #4 has gone off to Girl Scout camp for the weekend. She was ready to go. Alas, her mother was not so ready.

This evening is dh's office holiday party. I am not the least bit interested. I just want to stay in my own little home and have take-out sushi. And wear my jeans and a soft sweatshirt. And continue reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Which I am enjoying muchly.

But Dh is refusing to let me back out.

I'm not feeling the love for a holiday party. Even with my sequined black dress, chosen for me by Child #3 a few years ago.

I'm still not feeling the love. Even with my tacky dangly candy-cane earrings.

Oh, oh, oh! Wait! There is a very, very lovely review of i so don't do spooky by the one and only Shelf Elf! That elf has such a way with words; I love to read her reviews. Also, there is falling snow on her blog!

I'm off to get ready for the party. And who knows? I might actually have a fine time!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Book Review Club (December 2009)

Come in! Grab a coffee or, better yet, some warm apple cider and a plateful of homemade holiday cookies. Yes, those shortbread are from my kitchen.

Welcome to our last Book Review Club meeting of 2009. Wow! How time flies when you've got good books! We hope you enjoy our book reviews and maybe get a few ideas for holiday gifts!







I LOVE this book! Or, as 14 year-old Georgia Nicholson, the protagonist would say, I LURVE this book! A lot of other people love this book too. The first in a series of ten, it debuted in 1999 to a starred review from Publishers Weekly. And it was a Printz Honor Book.

It is an absolutely, laugh-till-you-cry funny young adult novel! You know what would be really fun? Getting invited to a cocktail party with the author, Louise Rennison, who is actually a British comedy writer.


From the back cover:

Her dad's got the mentality of a Teletubby (only not so developed). Her cat, Angus, is trying to eat the poodle next door. And her bet friend thinks she looks like an alien--just because she accidentally shaved off her eyebrows. Ergghhhlack. Still, add a little boy-stallking, teacher-baiting, and full-frontal snogging with a Sex God, and Georgia's year just might turn out to be the most fabbitty fab fab ever!

Told in diary form, this is the story of Georgia and her BFF, Jasmine, and some other girlfriends and how they navigate school, boys and friendship. It's a YA version of Bridget Jones Diary--only much funnier!

Guess what else? This book was made into a British movie, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. Which will be released on DVD on this side of the Atlantic on DECEMBER 22. Yes, it's at the TOP of my Netflix queue!

Here's a link to the official movie site and delightful movie trailer.

I've giggled my way through this entire review. :)

Now .... Onto to our brilliant reviewers and their brilliant reviews...


YOUNG ADULT BOOK REVIEWS

Keri Mikulski: SWEET TURNAROUND J by PV Beck (young adult)

Thao of Serene Hours: BLOOM by Elizabeth Scott (young adult)

Kaye of the Book Review Forum: THE HUNDRED DRESSES by Eleanor Estes (lower middle grade)

Stacy Nyikos: BULL RIDER by Suzanne Morgan Williams (upper middle grade)

Sarah Laurence: I SO DON'T DO SPOOKY by Barrie Summy
**Seriously, folks, I did not pay Sarah to do this!! Although now I'm thinking I'd pay her to take down the photo of my as a 16 year old!!**

ADULT BOOK REVIEWS

Kathy Holmes: MISTLETOE AND MURDER by Florence Case (romance)

Scott Parker: HOLMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS, edited by Martin Greenberg, et. al. (mystery short stories)

Jenn Jilks of My Reflections: A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES by Ruth Rendell (mystery)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: FAST WOMEN by Jennifer Crusie (humorous women's fiction)

Patti Abbott: LANDSCAPE WITH FRAGMENTED FIGURES by Jeff Vande Zande

Linda McLaughlin: THE LOST SYMBOL by Dan Brown


NONFICTION REVIEWS

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: RESTORATION LONDON by Liza Picard (adult)

Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: THE SURRENDERED WIFE by Laura Doyle (self help)

Staci of Life in the Thumb: SEW WHAT! 18 PATTERN-FREE PROJECTS YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE TO FIT YOUR NEEDS by Lexie Barnes


**Exceptional previous reviews are only a click away.**




Note to Reviewers: You know the drill.:) If I missed you, leave me a comment and I'll rectify the situation straight away. And award myself one less cookie today!



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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kelly Couric interviews SUSAN VANHECKE

(boa waving madly) It's ME. Remember ME? KELLY Couric, the slightly chubby, super sassy and trailer-trashy twin sister of Katie Couric?!

I'm back and I'm so taking over the blog today while Barrie is hanging out over at Shari Green's blog. She doesn't even know I'm here.

And she definitely doesn't know I've arranged for an author interview with....the one...the only...



AUTHOR SUSAN VANHECKE

This is Susan. Doesn't she look creative and artsy? In fact, she's SO creative and artsy that she has TWO books out recently! TWO!



Susan co-wrote Rock 'n Roll Solder: A Memoir with Dean Ellis Kohl. This young-adult book is the true story of how Dean formed a rock 'n roll band in Vietnam during the war. We're talking having to find instruments, musicians, playing for the troops, worrying about staying alive. Yowzer! This book even has a forward by Graham Nash. Without going into too, too much details, let me just confess that once upon a time I was a huge CSN&Y groupie. I'm sure Graham still remembers me! (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)



This is the cover for Susan's PICTURE BOOK (that's how versatile she is!): An Apple Pie for Dinner. It's the story of how Old Granny Smith (get it!!!?) trades a bunch of stuff to get apples so she can bake a pie. The very cool, 3D-ish illustrations are by Carol Baicker-McKee Here's a great book review by Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips.

Okay. Now that I've done my intro, I'll let Susan in. She's been waiting patiently for me to give her the "signal" for "the indepth interview is about to begin." (Kelly places the tips of her index finger and third finger against her lips and... whistles really really loudly. The door creaks open.)

(Susan enters slowly, blinking.) Was that the sign? Can I come in now? How long was I out there? More than a day?





Ha, ha, ha! Very funny. See, folks, she creative, artsy AND funny. (rubbing hands together). Let's dive into the interview. Susan, now that you've achieved your publishing goal, are you actually working on anything new? Or do writers publish, then chill on the couch, guzzling cocktails and bonbons?


Well, I don't know if I'd call it chillin' on the couch, exactly. More like collapsing, then praying that the synapses will recharge. But there's definitely loads of chocolate involved, the darker the better. New stuff? Yeah, there's always a bunch of new stuff waiting for some writerly love.



Chocolate and chillin'? I like the sounds of your lifestyle! So, be honest. Do you pay for your ideas? If not, where do you get them?




I follow the rainbow to its end and steal 'em from that big iron pot while the leprechaun's sleeping it off. You know, the pot with all the gold in it too. Hey, wait, it probably would be smarter – and a whole lot less work – to just take the little man's gold. Gotta try that next time.




Oh wow! I didn't realize you could actually get gold from the end of a rainbow. I thought that was, like, a fairy tale. Thanks for the tip. Next writing question: Do you outline?



Outline, shmoutline. I don't know how all those super-efficient, hyper-organized author types do it with their whiteboards and post-it notes and computer spreadsheets. If I get too [anal]ytical, it sucks the life right out of my writing. I'm more of a jot-the-story-arc-on-the-back-of-a-grocery-receipt type of gal, myself.



I agree. I could never outline. Never. (Kelly leans forward conspiratorially)Tell us something weird about yourself. Preferably juicy and scandalous. We're all friends here. Seriously. What's said on this blog, stays on this blog.


Just between you and me, Kel, I'm a book-sniffer. Total addict. Monkey on my back since grade school. I get a new tome in my hands and lose all control. Hardback, paperback, textbook, cookbook, it doesn't matter. I've got to crack that baby open, plunge my face inside, and breathe deep and long. It's a sickness, Kel, I know. But I'm handling it. Really. Maybe when I hit rock bottom – crawling the shelves at Barnes & Noble, pupils dilated, froth at the mouth – I'll consider rehab. Or maybe there's a 12-step I can look into. You familiar with Book Sniffers Anonymous?


No, I'm not familiar with that. But I'll ask around. And guess what I sniff? (pause) New shoes! (Kelly's stomach grumbles.) Time to talk food. What is your favorite dessert?



Oh, come on now, this one's too easy! You've got to know I'd answer apple pie! I'm so crazed for it that I actually applied to be a judge at the 2010 National Pie Championships in Orlando next spring. Hundreds of contestants, thousands of pies, from fruit and nut to cream and custard. Pie heaven! Hope I make the cut (no pun intended, Kel); keep your fingers crossed for me! Oh, and the recipe included in my picture book An Apple Pie For Dinner is the most delish ever. You can find it at www.AnApplePieForDinner.com; click on "Bake Your Own Apple PIe." There's even a step-by-step video to show you how to make it.

Oh, duh! Apple pie, of course! You know what I've learned from this interview, Susan? I could totally be an author. Totally. I can chill and eat chocolate. I know what a rainbow looks like. I'll start sniffing books and baking pie. I am so going to be published!


Oh, ack! What's that sound? Is that Barrie back already? I thought she'd stay way longer at Shari Green's blog. She loves Shari and all her questions. Susan, quick! Go! (Kelly opens back door and pushes Susan through.)

Microphone in hand, Kelly turns to the audience. "And that folks was one of the most outside-the-box interviews with Susan Vanhecke than you'll find anywhere on the Internet. AUTHOR SUSAN VANHECKE--you met her here first!
Later gator!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

FIFTY-ONE eggs + links!

a clump of eggs (one of many clumps!)

FIFTY-ONE EGGS!!

Holy Fertile Myrtle Reptile!!

It's late. After 1:30 a.m. and Child #2 are headed to bed. He dug up all those eggs. What a trooper!

And totally changing gears:

A shout-out to Larramie of the Divining Wand who posted an interview with moi.

Another shout-out to Bookworm Readers who posted a review of i so don't do spooky and rated it an overall A!

Thank you, blogettes!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ONE AND ALL WHO ARE CELEBRATING!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our veiled chameleon is laying eggs!!!

About 3:00 this afternoon, she began lumbering down the side of the cage. This time, she went straight for the "birthing chamber" (!!). We use the same 5-gallon flower pot each time. This is her third clutch.

Here she is digging away. About 3:20 pm.


Here's the progress she's made after about 40 minutes. I think she'll be done about 11:00 pm.


Below is a video of her digging. To set the scene: The room is warm with three heat lamps on three cages. Crickets are chirping merrily. There is a scritching sound as she digs a tunnel in the damp sand. It's very exotic and doesn't feel at all like a bedroom in suburban San Diego!



video

Sad News from the Chameleon Cage

It is with a heavy heart that I post today.

The first baby veiled chameleon died last night. :(

I could tell the end was coming. We just couldn't get him to eat. Instead of opening his little mouth and sticking out his tongue, he'd walk past the crickets. We tried everything we could think of. Pinhead crickets, small crickets, keeping the baby super hydrated and the cage warm.

Even sadder, the sibling is not far behind. He won't eat either.

I'd read of this online. Baby veileds who won't eat. If the temperature fluctuates or is too hot in the incubator. Our local reptile store thinks the first batch of eggs just wasn't a hardy batch. Of the original 23 eggs, only two hatched. There are still 3 eggs from this clutch in the incubator, but they've pretty much collapsed in on themselves, and I don't think we'll see any births. The other 42 eggs in the incubator are from the second clutch. And, as I've mentioned, the female is heavily pregnant again.

Sigh. This whole pet thing is not for sissies.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Town Monday: Dudley's Bakery, Santa Ysabel

I've written a couple of My Town Monday posts about Julian, CA. The posts have been about the Julian gold mine and the Observers Inn Planetarium.

If you're in the vicinity of Julian, you'll definitely want to hit Dudley's Bakery.



Dudley's Bakery was started in 1963 by a man named Mr. Dudley (big surprise there!) Pratt who'd owned a bakery in the town next door to me, El Cajon. Dudley's Bakery is located in Santa Ysabel, about 50 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.

Mr. Pratt used to close Dudley's Bakery for a couple of months each year so that he could take off for Europe in search of new bread recipes. He didn't wite these recipes down, but memorized them. Which seems a little dicey to me, but presumably Mr. Pratt's memory was better than mine. He was also on the lookout for new ovens and other baking paraphernalia.

This is one of my favorite breads from Dudley's. It's Baja Jalapeno. The top seller, though, is the date, nut and raisin bread. There are about 15 different varieties of bread. There was a time when the bakery offered over 40 varieties!

Yes, for you sweet-toothed people, there are fresh pastries.

Some trivia: About 5,000 loaves are baked a day. The bakers start at midnight and work all night long, filling the four large ovens (each oven holds as many as 120 loaves, if I've done my math right!). Dudley's bread is a common school fundraiser in these parts. There has been talk of Mr. Pratt as a friendly ghost who hung around the bakery. But he hasn't been "seen" in about 15 years.

Here's a link to Dudley's famous bread pudding.

And here's contact info for Dudley's Bakery:
30218 Highway 78 (Julian Road)
Santa Ysabel, CA 92070
Phone: (760) 765-0488
Dudley's Bakery website


Oh great. Now I'm hungry and have nothing decent to nibble on!


Click here for links to more My Town Monday posts. (Thanks Clair for hosting) Also, if you're even mariginally thinking about writing a My-Town-Monday post, please do! Fair warning, though, it's addictive! Write your post, then leave a comment here and we'll link to you.

Sources:
http://www.dudleysbakery.com/history.html
http://entertainment.signonsandiego.com/places/dudleys-bakery/http://www.dudleysbakery.com/images/calfarmer_article.pdf

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

News from the incubator!!

Something incredible has happened in our incubator.

Two itsby bitsy teeny weeny baby veiled chameleons fought their way out of their respective egg.

I know you want pictures.

Here's a shot of the deli dish in the incubator. This is the second chameleon battling his way out of his egg. It took each baby over a day to get free of the egg. The first was completely out on Saturday; the second yesterday.

Here's a closer-up shot of the photo above. For the first day or so, the chameleon drags around, from it's tummy, a little ball of egg material. I think it serves as nutrition, but it sure trips up the baby a lot. The little ball shrivels up after a day or two. In this picture, you can see that the baby's has some vermiculite (dirt stuff we put in each deli dish) stuck to him.

Here are the two babies. It's a sibling photo. They're hanging from the top of their cage, bonding and perhaps wondering if any additional brothers or sisters will be showing up. This lighting is not showing up their colors. However, the baby born on Saturday is much greener than the more recent baby, who is a boring brown.

Ahhh.....

You can how they're very cute. Probably the cutest veileds ever laid! And, no, I"m not prejudiced.


Additional details:
-There are three more eggs from this clutch. Hopefully, they'll hatch too.
-These eggs incubated for a little less than six months.
-We still have 45 eggs to hatch. Three of the eggs should hatch any day now. If you do the math, you'll see that we have 42 more eggs that should hatch around the end of Feb.

In other chameleon cage news...the female is pregnant again!! Also, we've separated the male and female. According to the reptile pet store, he's stressed and getting too thin. So, we now have three veiled chameleon cages. Our house is noisy with singing crickets. Craziness!

Oh yeah and...., the female is pregnant again!! We've separated the male and female. According to the reptile pet store, he's stressed and getting too thin. So, we now have three veiled chameleon cages. And our house is noisy with singing crickets. Craziness!
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