Monday, December 27, 2010

My Town Monday: Rancho Bernardo, CA

Welcome to my last My-Town-Monday post of 2010!

I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I learned Mr. Summy's office holiday party would be at the Rancho Bernardo Inn. Why a planned community in inland North County, about 20 miles northeast of downtown San Diego? The last few years have been at the swanky Marriott on the bay with its great views and cool gingerbread houses display.

However, I was very pleasantly surprised.

The inn was so very Californian. Here's a shot of the entrance with its fountain.

The lobby was warm and cozy.

The decorations were really pretty. This is the outdoor walkway from the lobby to the party room.

The chocolate dessert fountain was delicious. Actually, the food in general was good. I particularly enjoyed the appetizers.

The view from our balcony was woodsy and secluded. (Yes, we spent the night. Remember, Mr. Summy and I have four children. We jump at the chance for a little break from parenting.) Oh, and here's a weird thing. The room included the contents of the mini-bar. When we checked in, the hotel clerk reminded us to empty the mini-fridge before leaving!

Actually, I hope next year's holiday party is back at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, now that Mr. Summy and I are better educated. I just might book a spa appointment. We will definitely take advantage of the hotel's tour to the Rancho Bernardo Winery. Oh, and we'll bring an extra bag for the mini-fridge items!

If you're interested in the history of Rancho Bernardo (personally, I love California history), click here.

For links to more My Town Monday posts, please pop over to to the official My Town Monday blog.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Letter to Santa

I give to you in its entirety, Child #4's letter to Santa. It's currently on our fridge door, but her plan is to leave it next to a plate of homemade shortbread cookies this evening. It's a nice, feel-good letter.

Dear Santa Claus,

Welcome to my house! I bet you are very busy tonight. How are the elves and the reindeer doing?

I have been a good girl lately. I've gotten terrific grades and am on Honor Roll. I also help my mom cook. Today I helped her cook an omelet. I have built some good friendships. Mikaela, Kendra and Jacklyn are having a cookie and present exchange.

For Christmas I would like a Caboodles box, a penguin pillow pet, and a penguin or cupcake shirt. I would be so happy if you got me these things.

Merry Christmas!

Love, Child #4

Please write back.

Awww....such innocence. I probably won't be online much more today. Perhaps a little on Facebook, but that's it. So, from our home to yours....Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Raindrops Keeps Falling On My Head

We have had A LOT of rain in Southern California. Below is pictorial proof.

Here is our very, very full pool.

Here is the golf course behind our house. Today I counted 20 happy ducks.

Yes, we're expecting another storm. But not till Boxing Day (the day after Christmas)!

I leave you with a fun quotation from American poet and novelist James Dickey: "A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning."

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Town Monday: Trees in California

For this SECOND-LAST My Town Monday post of 2010, I bring to you some interesting California tree trivia.

We are home to the largest tree (the Giant Sequoia).

We are also home to the tallest tree (the Coastal redwood, which is even taller than the Statue of Liberty).

And we have the oldest tree (the Bristlecone Pine).

Let's not forget the only indigenous palm in North America (the California Palm).

Last and quite possibly least, we have the Summy Christmas tree. Sorry about cutting off the angel at the top. You can see why I'll never make a living as a professional photographer.

This week, I'm the hostess with the mostest for My Town Monday. So, if you've put up a MTM post, let me know in the comments section here or on the official My Town Monday blog. And I'll link to you on both blogs. Happy Monday!


Friday, December 10, 2010


It's a crazy, busy time of year. (This is not me. I look more crazed.)

I am seriously over cooking. (This is not me. I look more grumpy.)

I'm headed for too many fast-food dinners. Bad for the health. Bad for the pocketbook.

Anyone interested in participating in a blog round-up where we each post a dinner recipe that's quick to prepare and has a limited number of ingredients? Please, please! (This is not me. I look more desperate.)

Crockpot meals are certainly welcome. But I wouldn't want to limit us to crockpot meals.

I'm more than happy to post the links. Just let me know.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winning Librarians

"When you absolutely positively have to know, ask a librarian." -American Library Association

"I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved." - Barbara Kingsolver, novelist

"What can I say? Librarians rule!" - Regis Philbin

The prizes!

Here, in alpha order, are the librarians whose names were randomly chosen to win a copy each of I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES, I SO DON'T DO SPOOKY and I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP; a MAKEUP t-shirt, and a MAKEUP tote. Congratulations!

Ann, Eau Claire District Library, MI

Laura, Charlevoix Public Library, MI

Marcia, Huntington Branch Library, CT

Marsha, Ridgecrest Branch Library, CA

Michele, Eagle Mountain Public Library, UT

So, Ann, Laura, Marcia, Marsha and Laura, I will battle the holiday crowds at the post office for you! Oh, you say, tell us a little about the post office. If you insist....The first postmaster general was John Wannamaker. If my package to you gets lost, one of us will fill out Form 1510. To mail your packages from the largest post office in the country, I would have to travel back to New York.

Thank you to all who entered!


Monday, December 6, 2010

My Town Monday: places to visit in New Mexico

We are well and truly back from our spontaneous whirlwind roadtrip from San Diego to Oklahoma. Whew, but that was a lot of behind-the-wheel time! Twenty hours each way! Still, we had lots of fun, and there's something very bonding about being stuck in a car for hours on end with three other family members.

Here's a shot of New Mexico from the car. A bit of a blur! I took quite a liking to this state and found several places I'd like to go back to visit.

For example, I'd like to spend some time in the ghost town of Shakespeare, New Mexico.

And I'd like to go stargazing in Gila, New Mexico.

I'd also like to revisit Carlsbad Caverns.

I leave you with a photo of a cup with a worthwhile message. I had my coffee in this cup at the breakfast buffet at our hotel in Deming, New Mexico.

Sorry for the late post. But I have a touch of the flu today, which I've been treating with long naps and ibuprofen. Hopefully, I will be back to my normal, energetic self tomorrow.

For links to more My Town Monday posts, please pop over to to the official My Town Monday blog.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Book Review Club (December 2010)

Well, well, well. It's our last book club meeting of 2010! It's been a year chockful of interesting and thoughtful reviews. A huge thank-you to each reviewer. It's a lot of work, cranking out these reviews, and it's even more work to do such an outstanding job. I am lifting a glass of cyber champagne to each and every one of you. Cheers! I can't wait to see what you read in 2011!

Oh, and in case anyone is counting (that would be me!), this is our TWENTY-FOURTH get-together!

ROVER SAVES CHRISTMAS by Roddy Doyle is a very Irish, very funny, very silly, very imaginative middle-grade book. It makes a great read-along. And even a great read-alone!

From the flap: Fasten your seat belts, kids, it's going to be a bumpy night...It's coming on Christmas, and Rudolph's staying home sick on his one day of work a year. Santa has no choice but to call on the only fellow who's sure to have the smarts, the talent, the good looks and charm to be a proper substitute: Rover.

The author often talks to the reader (which I love). Here's an example from page 26: INTERRUPTION You're probably wondering why Kayla kept saying, "Who are you?" Well, the answer is easy. She couldn't say anything else.

The beginning of chapter 4 is a perfect example of Doyle's sense of humor.

Disclaimer: The photo above is a little misleading. Child #4 is FAKE-reading ROVER SAVES CHRISTMAS. She is actually in the middle of reading another book (one which I am not reviewing). However, we'll be enjoying Rover together by the end of the week as it's next on our list. This is probably the fouth time I've read this book! And always at this time of year.

Please click on the links below. They'll lead you to all sorts of wonderful book reviews!


Stacy Nyikos: THIS BOOK IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU by Pseudonymous Bosch (middle grade)

Thao of serene hours: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN by Kristin Walker (young adult)


Kaye of the Book Review Forum: AN AMISH CHRISTMAS by Cynthia Keller

Staci of Life in the Thumb: THE REINDEER KEEPER by Barbara Briggs Ward (Christmas/Inspirational)

Stacy of The Cat's Meow: THE MISCHIEF OF THE MISTLETOE by Lauren Willig (mystery series)

David Cranmer of The Education of a Pulp Writer: RIPLEY UNDER GROUND by Patricia Highsmith (psychological thriller)

Scott Parker: SILENCE OF THE GRAVE by Arnaldur Indirdason (mystery)

Jenn Jilks of My Muskoka: A SIMPLE CASE OF SUICIDE by Laura Kendall (mystery, romantic thriller)

Patti Abbott: SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE by Libby Fischer Hellmann (thriller, historical)

Sarah Laurence: THE COOKBOOK COLLECTOR by Allegra Goodman (literary)

Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: BLEEDING KANSAS by Sara Paretsky


Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: THE SHALLOWS: WHAT THE INTERNET IS DOING TO OUR BRAINS by Nicholas Carr

Note to Reviewers: Leave a comment if I missed you or made a mistake concerning your review. I'll rectify the situation the second I get a chance.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Trivia

Three Summy children brave the wind at a New Mexico truck stop (I took this shot on our drive out here a mere 3 days ago. How time flies when you're having fun!)

The mercury has dropped here in Oklahoma. No more flip-flops, we are all appropriately shod.

This morning, we're climbing back in our Kia and heading another 81-ish miles east to the grandparents'. We've had LOTS of fun playing around Oklahoma City with the aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, first-cousins-once-removed, second cousins...

And while we're loading up, you might want to click over to a fun post by the delightful Jennifer Bertman where she interviewed me about my "creative" writing space. keep the conversation flowing at your Thanksgiving dinner, here's some Thanksgiving trivia. I copied these from a post I did for the Class of 2k8's blog back in the day.

1. What do you call a female turkey?
2. What sound does she make?
3. How fast can a turkey run?
4. Which state produces the most turkeys?
5. How many feathers does a mature turkey have?
6. What drink did the puritans bring with them on the Mayflower?
7. What do you call a baby turkey?
8. Which vegetable did the Pilgrims decide not to eat for Thanksgiving because they thought it was poisonous?
9. Why is difficult to sneak up on a turkey?
10. What do you call a turkey under 16 weeks of age? How about if it's five to seven months old?

1. A hen
2. She clucks.
3. 20 mph
4. Minnesota
5. 3,500
6. beer
7. a poult
8. potatoes
9. Turkeys have a wide field of vision (270 degrees) and a great sense of hearing. Not germane to this answer, but interesting nonetheless, turkeys see in color.
10. A fryer, a roaster

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm on a crazy road trip!


So, Child #2, Child #3, Child #4 and I packed up last night and left at 7:30 this morning. We drove for TWELVE hours (Child #2 and I shared the driving) and we're now settled in a nice hotel room in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We'll only be on the road 8 hours tomorrow.

It's much chillier here than back in San Diego (although I gather it rained all day back home). We're severely under-dressed in our t-shirts and flip-flops! It works fine for driving, but we're definitely cold when dashing into rest stops. :) We'll break out the shoes and sweatshirts in the morning.

I think the nieces and cousins, and especially the grandparents are still in shock that we decided on the spur of the moment to join them for Thanksgiving!

How fun to be spontaneous!

p.s. Child #2, Child #3, Child #4 all have this entire week off. Mr Summy and Child #1 couldn't afford the time for the trip :(

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Town Monday: Ruby Foos, New York City

I have wanted to eat at Ruby Foos since the spring of 2007.

Oh, you say, why in the world would a woman living in San Diego have Ruby Foos on her mind for three-ish years?

The story goes like this:

On Wednesday, March 28, 2007, a literary agent by the name of Kristin Nelson was visiting New York City and had lunch with a Delacorte Press/Random House editor named Wendy Loggia. About 2,800 miles away, an aspiring San Diego author snacked on too much licorice.

That night, in her hotel room, Kristin Nelson kicked off her high heels, donned her comfy sweats, and fired up her laptop (I don't know that it happened EXACTLY like this, but it might have! ). She blogged:

It’s late so I only have time for a quick blog entry. Today I had lunch with Wendy Loggia from Delacorte (a children’s imprint at Random House).

We ate at the yummy Ruby Foo’s on Broadway (which is an editor hang out by the way). You can always spot publishing folks here around lunchtime because of the close proximity to the Random House Building.

Wendy mentioned that she would love to see a MG or YA mystery (think a modern Joan Lowery Nixon-type author who can reinvent something fresh).

Even later that night, the San Diego woman woke up with insomnia and a stomachache. She decided to forget about sleep for a while and padded down the hall to her teeny tiny office to surf the net. Lo and behold, she stumbled upon Kristin's blog. "Oh, oh oh," the aspiring San Diego author squealed to no one in particular as everyone in her house was fast asleep. "That could be my little Sherry!" She immediately cut and pasted the blog post into an email and shot it off to her agent, Rachel Vater, back in New York City.

Rachel added Editor Wendy's name to the submission list. And by May 17, we had a two-book deal for I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES and I SO DON'T DO SPOOKY. (Naturally, it wasn't quite this cut and dried. Agent Rachel worked her special brand of magic. She got other editors interested. She negotiated a two-book contract. But, by the end of an exciting day in May, we did sign with Editor Wendy. Yay!)

So, on October 27, 2010, Child #4 and I walked to Ruby Foos for our pre-theatre dinner (la di da!) before seeing Wicked (beyond amazing!) at the Gershwin Theatre.

At Ruby Foos, I ordered the house salad (which came in a bowl made of cucumber slices!) and sushi. Child #4 had dumplings and white rice (She's a bit of a carb fanatic.). And while I was waiting for my food, I gazed around the restaurant and wondered where Kristin Nelson and Wendy Loggia had sat and what they had eaten on that fateful day in Ruby Foos back in 2007.

This week, I'm the hostess with the mostest for My Town Monday. So, if you've put up a MTM post, let me know in the comments section here or on the official My Town Monday blog. And I'll link to you on both blogs. Happy Monday!

Oh, and here's a link to Kristen Nelson's momentous blog post.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Child #2 is HEALED!

You may remember that Child #2 broke his collarbone on Sunday, September 19 in an uber dumb skateboarding incident. This efffectively removed Child #2 from his entire last high-school season of varsity water polo. His coach was not amused. Neither were his parents.

The circles show the ends of the broken bone. (I will not divulge how long it took me to figure out how to add the circles!)

Last week, Mr. Summy took Child #2 to the x-ray department and then to his orthopedic appointment. The surgeon pulled the x-ray up on his computer screen. He jaw dropped. Child #2 was completely healed THREE WEEKS EARLY! Just in time for the CIF games! (California Interscholatic Federation--I only learned what the acronym stood for by Googling for this post!)

Our first CIF water polo game was last night. Child #2 played brilliantly!

To what do we owe this miraculous quick knitting of bone?


Genes from the Great White North + genes from the Sooner State?

Copious quantities of calcium?

The water polo gods?

Your guess is as good as mine. I will say, though, it was magnificent to be in the bleachers when Child #2 jumped into the pool last night!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Town Monday: Child #4 Recommends Serendipity 3 in New York City

Serendipity 3, a fun, well-known, overpriced restaurant + giftshop built in 1954, is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Child #4 and I walked here following an exciting morning at Random House where we were treated like princesses and met all sorts of wonderful RH people, many of whom are associated with the I So Don't Do series. Certainly we did not need any more treats after the RH reception, but we, uh, treated ourselves to more anyway!

Here's a so-so shot (taken with my Blackberry) when you first enter Serendipity 3. You can see some of the kitschy stuff for sale and the Tiffany lamps which are everywhere. You might recognize this restaurant from the movie Serendipity with Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. (I am dying to meet the latter in real life. No doubt the feeling is mutual!) One Fine Day and Trust the Man each have scene filmed here, too. People who used to frequent Serendipity 3 include Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol.

Serendipity 3 is well known for it's Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. This is a picture of the one Child #4 and I split. I'm not sure where the "frozen" and the "hot" come in. However, it's made of 14 different chocolates and is pretty yummy. I'm not a huge chocolate fan, but Child #4 was extremely wowed. We will not discuss the calories! Anyway, apparently, Jackie O. wanted to serve Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at a function, but couldn't get hold of the recipe. It is available now, and I hunted it down just for you guys. The recipe for Serendipty 3's Frrrozen Hot Chocolate is right here.

Oh, you thought I was kidding when I said the restaurant was over priced? Here is a fancy schmancy hot dog (I can't believe I just typed that phrase) for a whopping $69 dollars! Child #4 and I did NOT order this. (I think if you click on the picture, it will enlarge enough to allow you to read the ingredients.)

Anyway, Serendipity 3 is certainly worth a visit. And a cup of Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. And perhaps a meal. But never a $69 hot dog. ;)

From, serendipity is:

1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.

Happy Monday to you all, wherever you may be! Here's the link to the official My Town Monday blog where you'll find great posts about other bloggers' corners of the world.