Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Author Eileen Cook Goes YouTube

What kind of a day are you having?

Productive? Fun? Too busy?

It really doesn't matter because there's room for a laugh in every day.

Which is why I bring you the one and only, very creative, very hilarious EILEEN COOK.

Eileen's YA, GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD has just been released in paperback. (Yes, you want one or a dozen straightaway.)

Anyway, to celebrate the paperback release, Eileen created GUT-SPLITTING YouTube interviews where her antagonist, Lauren Wood, who gives advice on being popular. Here's the link to all the YouTubes.

And to save you from having to click, here's the first POPULAR LAUREN VIDEO. Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Town Monday: Cricket Farm, Lakeside, CA

I suspect this location will not be high on your list if you vacation in San Diego. Why? It's creepy and smelly.

I'm not sure what I expected when Child #4 and I visited a cricket farm last week.

Jiminy Crickets hopping all over grass of green, perhaps? Miniature wooden houses with lots of tubes (because crickets love to climb up tubes)? Music from Pinocchio?

Certainly, I did not expect this . . .

The cricket farm takes up two long, corrugated-metal buildings. Each building houses 13 MILLION crickets! At the moment, only one of these buildings is in use because the farm is dealing with a cricket virus. The virus paralyzes the crickets at four weeks. How do you get rid of a cricket virus? With lots of bleach and an ozone air filter. Hmmm....there might have been something else as well, but I forget now.

This is the door to the office. Child #4 and I ventured in (because together we are BRAVE) to pick up our order. It was hot and smelly. Apparently, there are THREE HUNDRED TO FOUR HUNDRED walk-ins here a week! Quite the little cottage industry!

And here's our merchandise:
-250 six-week/large crickets (because it's $9 to buy 250 large crickets here and $5-$7 to buy 60 large crickets at the petstore!)
-1,000 pinhead crickets
-a tube of dry cricket food

As we drove off, Child #4 and I commeted that this wasn't our favorite My Town Monday fieldtrip. However, it was probably the chameleons' favorite!

Please check out the links to the other My Town Monday posts on the official My Town Monday blog. I bet my post is the last one up today. I wonder if there's a prize . . .

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Town Monday: Health in San Diego

Sorry to report there will only be a pseudo My Town Monday post because....I spent Sunday evening (we got home at 11:30 pm) in the ER with Child #2. He fell off his skateboard, more like shot through the air, landed on his shoulder and majorly broke his collar bone. Huge fracture. That said, the scenario could have been much much worse. Child #2 wasn't wearing a helmet.

So, the Summy family is officially done with skateboards. Forever and ever, amen. At least the mother is. And that's what really counts because I'm getting rid of all ours.

Anyway, when Urgent Care sent us to the ER, I told Child #2 that I'd read all about this awesome aquarium in the ER waiting room. I even mentioned that I'd use the aquarium for My Town Monday post. (See how I'm always thinking of you people!) Perhaps there is another aquarium somewhere else in the hospital? Because if this is the only one, some reporter grossly exaggerated its awesomeness. Frankly, there's a much more awesome aquarium at this Thai restaurant in Oceanside.

In other health news, we're having a huge outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) in California (perhaps the largest in 50 years). It turns out I was behind on my immunizations. You'll be happy to know I'm now all caught up. While at the doctor's, I had a few gallons of blood drawn. It turns out I'm low in vitamin D! Seriously? I must be the only person living in San Diego who is low in the vitamin you get from the sun!

And in mouthwatering news, it's San Diego Restaurant Week (Sept 19-24). Go have a meal out at one of the many participating restaurants. But don't hop a skateboard to get to your dinner reservation. And move if you're seated near someone coughing.

Please click through to My Town Monday posts listed below. You'll get a slice of life from these bloggers' eyes! (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.)

Jim Winter posts about the miracle of Reds baseball in October!

Travis Erwin introduces us to another Amarillo, TX blogger

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More News From the Chameleon Cage

Welcome to the nursery! Aren't they just the cutest little reptiles you've ever seen? I caught six out of the seven (two more hatched today) in this shot. They're asleep at the top of the cage, close to the warm infrared light. How did they get to the top of this 30-inch cage? They climbed. CUTELY.

Thank you for all the congratulations re getting some of these eggs to hatch (still MANY (like 42?) to go). Now, we have to get the babies to start eating. Kids. Yeesh! There's always something to worry about.

Anyway, this container is home to hundreds of pinhead crickets. Chameleon food. Today we'll see if any of the baby veileds eats. We think they're ready because a) Most of the little yolk sacs attached to their bellies have been absorbed. b) Eyes are opening. c) Mouths are opening. Wish us luck!

I wonder if this little guy (or girl) will be out of the egg by lunch?

Oh, and to answer the big question...we'll be selling the babies to a reptile/pet store.

And not in chameleon news, I'll be at the Yellow Book Road this Saturday, September 18 @ 2:00 for a Random House Tween/Teen Author Panel. Who else will be there?
Stacey Goldblatt (GIRL TO THE CORE)
, Laura McNeal (DARK WATER) and Laura Peyton Roberts (GREEN). Please come by if you get the chance. We'll try to be entertaining and educational. Also, I can't imagine that a panel like this will happen all that often.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I was going to post about the La Jolla Rough Water Swim for this week's My Town Monday post. I got the kids off to school, walked the dog, fed the chameleons and opened incubator #1 to check on the veiled chameleon eggs...

SURPRISE!! A baby veiled chameleon was walking, more like lurching, around the deli dish!!!

I opened incubator #2...

Three more baby veiled emerging from eggs! (I placed a penny in the dish to give you perspective. No, no, I don't leave money in with the eggs.)

I'm holding the first beautiful baby!

Here are 3 baby veiled siblings exploring a shoe box, making each other's acquaintance, waiting for me to finish preparing their cage.

I am dancing around the house with joy! Not, of course, when I'm holding one of the babies! I am sending picture texts to Child #2 (the owner of the chameleons). He's in school and shouldn't be receiving texts. But, hey Mr. Principal, this is the miracle of life, reptile style!

Current status:

-3 babies completely out of his/her respective egg
-1 baby still dragging egg around
-1 baby with only his/her head out
43 eggs still to hatch

Oh, I cannot stop singing and dancing. I am so excited!

Mr. Summy phoned to tell me not to get TOO excited, as in we're NOT keeping 48 chameleons. Oh, but he knows me well. ;)

Please check out the links to the other My Town Monday posts on the official My Town Monday blog.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Guess what I did this morning???

See if you can guess what I did this morning? Here are some clues.

This is our adorable veiled female chameleon. I just love this dopey look she gets. In reality, she's the opposite of dopey. She's a very smart quick-learner. Brilliant, actually, on a reptile scale!

Here's a close-up. Note the telltale bulge by her hind leg.

No doubt you've figured it out by now. Our female veiled laid another clutch last night! That telltale bulge was the outline of an egg or few.

My chameleon midwifery tools consist of Exhibit A: the 5-gallon "birthing bucket" filled with damp sand and, at the time of this photo, eggs; Exhibit B: plastic gloves, which I'm pretty much addicted to for all sorts of chores; Exhibit C: a long-handled spoon for carefully excavating sand from the "birthing bucket" and a big bowl for said sand; Exhibit D: a chameleon crib (a plastic deli dish with damp vermiculite); Exhibit E: my coffee

I uncovered a cluster of eggs. You can get a sense of size from the penny I placed next to them. No, she didn't lay the penny! Ha!

Here she is, post partum. I sprayed the cage, giving her lots of water to drink and I shook in a bunch of juicy, calcium-coated crickets. I'm thinking of ordering a hissing cockroach as a treat for all her hardwork. Yes, she does look a little dehydrated. But wouldn't we all after a night of digging in a bucket of sand? She'll be fine in no time flat.

Oh, you're wondering how many eggs she laid? FORTY-FOUR!

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Town Monday: Happy Labor Day!

In Canada, in 1872, the Toronto Typographical Union went on strike against The Globe newspaper for a 54-hour work-week. Ten thousand marched in Toronto to Queen's Park in support of the strikers. Due to some crazy laws still hanging around, about twenty-four leaders from this union were arrested for "conspiracy." To protest these arrests, a bunch of unions marched in Ottawa. Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald stepped up to the plate and promised to get rid of the antiquated anti-labor laws. Soon after this, all unions were demanding 54-hour work weeks.

In the United States, the first Labor Day was planned by the Central Labor Union and was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. The Knights of Labor staged the first Labor Day parade (which was similar to the Toronto parade ). The slogan: "Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest." This refers back to the eight-hour-day movement during the Industrian Revolution in Britain.

Oh, and a little American trivia: the Navy ceases wearing their white uniforms on Labor Day and begins wearing Navy blue uniforms. Isn't there a fashion rule about not wearing white after Labor Day? it must come from this.

In France, Labor Day (La Fete du Muguet or La Fete du Travail--please excuse the lack of accent marks) is celebrated on May 1. It's a public holiday in honor of workers' rights. On this day, people often give lily of the valley or dogrose flowers to those they love.

In St. Andrews, Scotland, students run into the freezing cold North Sea at sunrise on May 1, which is when Labor Day is celebrated.

At the Summy house, in honor of all those who have marched and striked and persevered for fair laws for workers, I will attempt to do as little as possible on this fine Labor Day. With Scotland in mind, I will jump in my pool. I will ask Mr. Summy to follow France's lead and bring me some pretty cut flowers. All this, because I am a hard worker.

Please check out the links to the other My Town Monday posts on the official My Town Monday blog.

Happy Labor Day one and all!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Book Review Club (September 2010)

If the Book Review Club were a person, it might be trundling off to Vegas for a gamble and a drink. Yes! It's our TWENTY-FIRST meeting!!! Oh, think of all the reviews. In fact, you can easily access previous reviews by clicking on The Book Review Club button on the header.

Today I'm reviewing THE CITY OF EMBER by Jeanne DuPrau. This is one of my little sister's favorite middle-grade books. We have very similar (good!) tastes, so I was pretty sure I'd like it. And I did. Actually, a lot of people share our taste! The proof being that this 2003 book was on the NY Times Best Seller List for several weeks, was an American Library Association, a Kirkus Editor's Pick, and the list goes on.

From, suite 101, here's the summary:

For over two hundred years, the citizens of Ember have lived in darkness, save for the great lamps and flood lights that illuminate the city by day. But now, the lights are flickering, and blackouts are occurring more often. The buildings are crumbling, and the stockpiles of food and supplies are scarce. Sooner or later, this deflating city will face eternal darkness.

Twelve-year-old Lina discovers the remains of an ancient message that was feared lost long ago. The message, left by the Builders of Ember, contains the instructions on how to escape the city. With the threat of eternal darkness looming, Lina and her friend Doon work together to decipher the message. In doing so, they discover the secrets of why and how Ember was built, and they learn that life exists outside of their darkened city—life beneath a bright blue sky.

There are many things I liked about this post-apocalyptic novel. It is perfectly paced. It is beautfully written, one of those books that seems deceptively simple to write. It is, politically, quite realistic. The prologue tells us that over a couple of hundred years ago, the Builders gave the mayor of the time a special box with a timed lock. The box contained those oh-so-important instructions for how to escape to above ground. Each mayor was supposed to pass along this box until the year it popped open. The seventh mayor attempted to hammer open the box for selfish reasons. Then he up and died before giving the box to his successor. And the box ends up in the back of a closet. Love this!

Fair warning, THE CITY OF EMBER does end on a cliff hanger. Thank goodness, I got the sequel, THE PEOPLE OF SPARKS, for my birthday. In fact, there are four books in this series.

I'm planning to get my hands on the audio for our next big road trip (Christmas?). Yes, there is a movie of this book, and, yes, it's out on DVD. But I do love a book on audio for the car.

Without further ado, please give it up for the following amazing reviews from amazing reviewers!! Please, please visit. You'll be so happy you did!


Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: NICK OF TIME by Ted Bell (middle grade)

Keri Mikulski: ELEVEN, TWELVE and THIRTEEN by Lauren Myracle (three middle grade books)

Stacy Nyikos: THE ACCIDENTAL ADVENTURES OF INDIA MCALLISTER by Charlotte Agnell (middle grade)

Sarah Laurence: THE INDIGO NOTEBOOK and THE RUBY NOTEBOOK by Laura Resau (both are young adult)

Thao of serene hours: SPIRIT BOUND by Richelle Mead (Young Adult)

Kaye of the Book Review Forum: THE GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale (young adult, retelling of a fairy tale)


Stacy of The Cat's Meow: IN OTHER ROOMS OTHER WONDERS by Daniyal Mueenuddin (literary short stories)

Staci of Life in the Thumb: THE LUMBY LINES by Gail Fraser

Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: THE GIRL WHO KICKED OVER THE HORNET'S NEST by Steig Larsson (mystery/thriller, Book #3 in the series)

Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: INTERRED WITH THEIR BONES by Jennifer Lee Carrell (mystery/thriller)

Scott Parker: DR. NO by Ian fleming (spy/James Bond)


Linda McLaughlin: THE FOURTH TURNING by William Strauss and Neil Howe

Jenn Jilks of My Reflections: FIFTEEN DAYS by Christie Blatchford

**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 pronto. And award myself one less treat today!