Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My New Best Friend

Me and my new best friend (photo credit: Child #3)

When my writing critique group, Denny's Chicks, spent a weekend in Dana Point, uh, writing and gabbing, Stacey Goldblatt brought her milk frother. Actually, Stacey also brought homemade vegan goodies, a mean salad and squares of chocolate.

But it was her milk frother that I coveted.

And coveted and coveted and coveted.

Finally, I just broke down and bought myself one. So, now I'm the proud and happy owner of my very own milk frother.

With his love for hot chocolate, Child #2 is also thrilled with the milk frother.

And on the topic of Child #2, can I just brag for a quick sec? We're all very excited as more and more colleges send him acceptance letters! At some point, a decision will have to be made. But, for this week, it's all fun and games and ego boosting.

Have a great Wednesday! And if you haven't bought yourself something recently, go for it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Town Monday: Nude Woman Rescued in San Diego, CA

In the midst of all the doom and gloom currently in the news, I bring you a more whimsical local story for today's My Town Monday post.

Last Tuesday, a naked 27-year-old woman was stranded on a cliff overlooking Black's Beach in San Diego. She'd left her clothes on the beach and was hiking up a steep cliff when she got stuck. The cliffs are about 500 feet high. Luckily, a good citizen noticed her and called 911. The lifeguard rescue team rigged up a rope system, and the woman was safely reunited with her clothes. She suffered scraped knees.

No one knows who made the 911 call. Possibly a hang glider who was floating by and got an eyeful of the disrobed damsel in distress.

I guess she was headed up to the parking lot? Although I'm not sure why she thought nudity in a family parking lot was a good plan.

Was the woman cited for nudity? No.
(Black's Beach, the beach below her, is considered by locals as "clothing optional." Lifeguards can do give out tickets for nudity here, but probably not all that often.)

Was the woman charged for the resuce? No.

Was the woman cited for anything? Yes. She was cited for not obeying the signs warning of unstable cliffs! Well, they are sheer.

And that's how we roll in San Diego.

Ya gotta wonder how many hits this post will get with words like "nudist" and "naked"!! Ha!

Please click here for links to more My Town Monday posts. Have a great day!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Delightful School Visit

Once upon a time, there were four beautiful and smart seventh-grade girls who loved to read. They banded together and formed a book club. Their fearless librarian recommended a book: I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES. The girls dove in and were amazed to discover places in the book that were right by their school! An ostrich farm. A fruit stand. The Wild Animal Park.

The brilliant girls did a little online sleuthing and located the author. She was local. They emailed her.

And this is how yesterday's author visit to San Pasqual Union in Escondido came to pass.

Here I am with the book club. (Hint: I'm the more mature-looking girl in the green raincoat.)

I had a BLAST. Other students, teachers and parents joined our kick-back chit-chat. There was lunch, a HUGE bowl of licorice, a book signing and lots of laughter, chatter and questions.

Thank you, in alphabetical order, B, C, D and S! And, of course, a special thank you to Mrs. MacDonald, too!

Back at home, I admired my flowers and sign!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Random Conversaton with Child #3

Child #3 is my 9th grader son. (In case you've forgotten. ;) )

Child #3 (spoken offhandedly): I saw a guy at school reading one of your books.

Me (excited): Really? Wow! Which one?

Child #3: The pink one.

Me: Wow! A high school guy reading I SO DON'T DO SPOOKY! Wow!

Child #3: Yeah. I said to him, "Hey, my mom wrote that."

Me: Really! You said that to him! What did he say?

Child #3: He said, "Yeah, right."

Me: "Yeah, right"???? He didn't believe you??!! Did you tell him you're a suspect in the 3rd book? Did you tell him that???

Child #3 (says nonchalantly over his shoulder as he leaves the kitchen): Nah. I went to lunch.

Keep in mind this is the same kid who, a couple of years ago, after doing a book talk on I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES, informed me he'd told the class he couldn't remember the name of the author!!!

And the countdown is on...
I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP comes out in paperback in just 12 days (April 5)!
(Every family needs a dozen or so. :) )

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The inside of a chameleon

I was going to regale you all with a late My Town Monday post. However, it's already Tuesday @ 1:30 pm my time, and since I'm on the west coast and behind many of you, I figured I'd save the post until next Monday.

INSTEAD....I will treat you to a not-oft seen sight...



Here is our very own Fat Letta, in all her skeletal glory. Not sure why the colors on the arrows didn't come through, but....The darker arrows point to EGGS, EGGS and more EGGS! The very light arrow (you must squint to see it) points to a tummy full of digesting crickets.

I actually have a much more recent x-ray of our dear Fat Letta Summy (named by Child #4), but I couldn't get it to upload. Yes, it's been one of those frustrating days when a task that should take 5 MINUTES ends up taking 5 HOURS. Especially those tasks related to the dreaded taxes. Yuck.

Wishing you a happy tax season where you get a little money back (not too much, though, as that means the gov't was hanging onto your money without paying you interest)!

And here's to a healthy pregnancy with fertilized eggs for Fat Letta!

Back to those tasks...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The tragedy in Japan

I've been watching the news a lot and listening to it on the radio when I'm driving. I have satellite radio in the car, so I hear versions of the tragedy in Japan from various perspectives (BBC--British, CBC--Canadian, several stations--American).

It doesn't really matter who's broadcasting the details. Something really, really horrible happened in Japan.

Every time I go to blog about it, though, I can't seem to capture the horror of it in a post.

Not mentioning the tragedy doesn't seem right. I'm starting to feel a little like Emily Dickinson (minus the incredible poetry talent) who lived through the Civil War, but didn't address it in her poems.

The Happy Nappy Bookseller alerted me to this government website, which gives out legit addresses of where to send aid.

Now, go do something special today, either for yourself or a friend or a significant other or a child. Because we truly don't know what's around the corner.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Town Monday: Do You Know Your Movies??

Happy Monday and welcome to the first My Town Monday post of Daylight Savings Time 2011. Ooops. According to The Huffington Post, it's actually Daylight Saving (no "s") Time.

Oh dear. I'm losing an hour in my already too-busy life. So, this will be a short, but fun, My Town Monday post.

Question: What do the following movies have in common?

It's a Wonderful World (Jimmy Stewart, Claudette Colbert)
Citizen Kane (Orson Kane)
Some Like It Hot (Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon
True Lies (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis)
The Antwone Fisher Story (Denzel Washington)

Answer: ¡ɐɔ 'oƃǝıp uɐs uı 'pǝɯlıɟ ǝɹǝʍ ɯǝɥʇ ɟo sʇɹɐd ʇsɐǝl ʇɐ ɹo 'pǝɯlıɟ ǝɹǝʍ sǝıʌoɯ ǝsǝɥʇ

Oh, don't you look funny, trying to tip your computer screen in order to read the upside-down answer!

Other My Town Monday participants:
Jim Winter posts about the Ohio River flood, this year and in 1997

I'm pinch-hitting for Travis of One Word, One Rung, One Day who's off terrorizing all sorts of good folk while on his spring-break roadtrip. 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. Have a great day!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The next Summy Family project!

Now that we're, ahem, successful veiled chameleon breeders (slight exaggeration, BUT it was a very successful clutch of 32!:) Read about it here.), you're probably wondering what's next on our list of challenges.

Here are some hints....

Child #4 and I planted some sunflower seeds.

Oh, look how well they're doing after only six short days!

Next, we'll be sprouting a few varieties of TALL sunflowers in our Ultimate Growing Kit, then transferring said plants to the garden.

Because we're planning to grow a sunflower fort! Complete with moon vines!

Anyone else want to join in the fun? We could all post pictures.

p.s. I posted the chameleon cage shot before, but I couldn't resist re-posting. I do so love it! Babies, babies, everywhere!

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Town Monday: Dana Point, CA

Welcome to this week's My Town Monday post!

Dana Point has a population of about 37,000 and is located on the coast in the OC, roughly halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles. It was named after Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882), a lawyer, a seaman and an author. Mr. Dana wrote the first book about California in English. The book was published in 1840 and was titled TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST. Mr. Dana described Dana Point (then called Capistrano Bay) as "the most romantic spot on the California coast."

Here are a few more interesting tidbits about Dana Point:
-It's a great whale-watching place. Depending on the time of year, you can see gray whales or blue whales.
-It's a great spot for surfing.
-The historic area, called Lantern Village, has many streets named after different colored lanterns (Blue Lantern, Amber Lantern, you get the idea). A couple of hundred years ago, ships used colored lanterns to guide traders safely into Dana Point's harbor.

You might be wondering what I was doing in Dana Point. It was my writing critique group's (Denny's Chicks--so named because we often meet at Denny's) getaway weekend!!

Here we are hard at work!

Stacey Goldblatt! Not only is Stacey an amazing writer, but she's also a very talented baker...of desserts. We encourage her in both pursuits. P.S. Stacey is the author if two Young Adult novels: STRAY and GIRL TO THE CORE (both published by Delacorte Press/Random House).

Kathy Krevat! Kathy wins for Most Words Produced This Weekend! Congrats to Kathy and her twinkle fingers.

Kelly Hayes! Kelly brought very delicious homemade soup. Very delicious. She also prepares mouth-watering appetizers. And she has a good sense of direction.

Me in my pink, fuzzy writing socks. (Kathy also has a cute pair.)

Here's what awaited me when I arrived home. That Child thoughtful!

Here we (me, Kelly, Stacey, Kathy) are in our natural habitat (at Denny's)! Just for fun, can you name the ONLY Denny's Chick who eats red meat?

Oh, oh, oh! If you haven't had a chance to check out the book trailer for I SO DON'T DO FAMOUS, here's a link. I'm really proud of it.

Please click here for links to more My Town Monday posts. Have a great day!


Friday, March 4, 2011

book trailer for I SO DON'T DO FAMOUS!

This was a REALLY fun book trailer to make. In fact, lots of the slides are from photos I took while in Hollywood and environs. And some are from photos Editor Wendy took. Yes, she is multi-talented. Thanks to all of you for permission to use your pictures for the very cute "real people credits" at the end. A special shout-out to those who didn't give me permission, but I used the pics anyway. (joke)

A huge and heartfelt thank-you to the ubertalented author and videographer, PJ Hoover! She has the patience of a saint.

Click here for HOME.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Book Review Club (March 2011)

Thanks for stopping by! It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for bunches of great book reviews. And just so that you know how passionate we are about bringing wonderful books to your attention, I'd like to point out that this is our TWENTY-SEVENTH meeting!! Wow! Kind of boggles the mind! I'll keep my review relatively short so that you keep scrolling to the many links to outstanding reviews. Enjoy!


Have you ever read anything by Eileen Cook? She writes adult, young adult (like this book I'm reviewing today), AND middle-grade (the first will be out this April). Yes, yes, she is versatile. And talented. And extremely funny.

From the cover flap of THE EDUCATION OF HAILEY KENDRICK: Hailey Kendrick always does exactly what's expected of her. She has the right friends, dates the perfect boy, gets good grades, and follows all the rules. But one night Hailey risks everything by breaking a very big rule in a very public way...and with a very unexpected partner in crime. Haeiley gets caught, but her accomplice does not, and Hailey takes the fall for both of them...They say honesty is the best policy--but some secrets are worth keeping, no matter the cost. Or are they?

What you can expect from an Eileen Cook novel? 1. perfect plotting: There's not a loose end in sight. 2. laugh-out-loud humor: You'll have a stomachache. 3. characters to love and root for 4. a YA with nothing racier than a few kisses (which is very useful if you have a child who reads "up". 5. Oh, and did I mention the STARRED Kirkus review? "Cook has whipped up a real treat."

My, my, this may be the first time I've blogged about Eileen without using sarcasm. You see, we know each other in real life and have THAT kind of a relationship. Well, it's actually much more her than me... Hmmmm...if you've got a sec, check out this humorous (if I do say so myself) interview I did with Eileen about a year ago. There's even a photo of Eileen Cook in her jammies! Mwahaha!

And, now, drum roll, onto marvelous and varied book reviews! Please click through. You'll be glad you did!


Kaye of the Book Review Forum: TIGER RISING by Kate DiCamillo (Middle Grade)

Sarah Laurence: JERSEY TOMATOES ARE THE BEST by Maria Padian (Young Adult, reviewed by both Sarah and her daughter)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE ESPRESSOLOGIST by Kristina Springer (Young Adult)

Stacy Nyikos: TWISTED by Laurie Halse Anderson (Young Adult)

Keri Mikulski: HATE LIST by Jennifer Brown (Young Adult)


Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: DEAD AIR by Rochelle Krich (mystery)

Scott Parker: BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE by Martin Walker (mystery)

David Cranmer of The Education of a Pulp Writer: RIPLEY'S GAME by Patricia Highsmith

Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: THIS BODY OF DEATH by Elizabeth George (mystery)

Beth Yarnall: LIVE WIRE by Harlan Coben (mystery)

Linda McLaughlin: SECRET SANCTION by Brian Haig (Legal Thriller)

Linda McLaughlin: THE IRON DUKE by Meljean Brook (Steampunk)

Patti Abbott: A GESTURE LIFE by Chang Rae Lee

Staci of Life in the Thumb: THE BIRD HOUSE by Kelly Simmons


Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: ABBEY LUBBERS, BANSHEES & BOGGARTS: AN ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FAIRIES by Katharine Briggs (Odd as it seems, Ellen and I felt this was the best place to list this review! Now, aren't you curious? :) )

(Note to Reviewers: Leave a comment or shoot me an email if you find an error. Nothing would surprise me; I was interrupted about a million times while setting up this post!)

Thanks for visiting, everyone!