Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Introducing Child #4....

See that angel dressed in white? That is my child #4!

I saw this poster for Joseph for the first time last night when I went to pick her up from rehearsal. There it was, taped to the window of the theatre. I totally choked up.

I don't usually show phots of my kids on the blog. But I couldn't resist...

Oh, I can't wait to see this production! And I'm missing opening weekend because I'll be in Hershey, PA at the Pennsylvania School Librarians' annual conference.

Brian Imoto (Joseph), you also look amazing on this poster. I saw Brian in Into the Woods last spring. He was great! And this guy can truly belt out a tune!

If you're in the San Diego area and you're looking for some first-class community theatre, come see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Moxie Theatre on El Cajon Boulevard and Montezuma. I'll be in the audience for at least two performances. Mr. Summy is helping with sound/lights/whatever he's told to do.

For more info, here's the Pickwick Players' website.

**There's a fun reception with the cast, directors, producer, etc with scruptious munchies following the opening-night performance this Friday, April 29. And tickets for this Saturday night and Sunday matinee (April 30, May 1) are at a reduced price of $13/ticket. Call the box office: 619-448-5673 and request the "Jacob and Sons Cast Special" for $13 tickets (Get it? Jacob and sons are 13 total?). You gotta phone to get this deal; don't order through the website. **

Oh, and if you order tickets, could you mention Child #4 Summy's name? It's the kids vs the adults for a friendly ticket sale contest. Child #4 and her cohorts would dearly love to win a pizza party. (I think that's the prize.)

She is adorable, isn't she? ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Town Monday: Flash Mob at a San Diego mall

Guess what yours truly and Child #4 (10 year-old daughter) took part in on Friday evening at a crowded mall?

A Flash Mob!!

Well, actually, Child #4 was much more active than her mother who can barely sing or dance (and certainly not the two together)!

Here's what went down...

You have your unsuspecting diners and shoppers.

Suddenly, the music starts up, and the performance begins!

Here's the flyer handed out by the performers!

The flash mob was to advertise the upcoming play, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, which opens this coming Friday, April 29 and runs for three weekends.

Thanks to a New Year's Resolution to have more fun, I've attended a fair amount of community theater over the last two years. I've seen several of the adult performers (and some of the kids too) in other plays around San Diego. There's gobs of talent in this production, IMHO.

Oh, and did I mention that Child #4 has a small part and even sings four lines SOLO?!

For more info, here's the Pickwick Players' website. If you're anywhere close to the area (Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego), consider seeing the show. You can't beat live theater, especially really, really good live theater.

Here's a video of the Flash Mob. Child #4 is dancing all over the place. If you listen closely, you might hear me singing off-key. It's my specialty.

Click here for links to more My Town Monday posts! It's always fun to see what's going on in other corners of the world.

Happy Monday to all!

Friday, April 22, 2011

What makes it real?

I So Don't Do Famous, the fourth mystery in the "i so don't do" series, comes out on May 10.

So, Sherry will be out and about in the real world in eighteen short days. This time, she's busting up a burglary ring in Hollywood. It was a fun book to research (3 trips to Hollywood!) and write. Uberfun! I love this book.

It's hard to believe that Famous' release is almost here.

Here's how I know it's really happening....

A hot-off-the-presses copy arrives from my editor. Wrapped in ribbon. Complete with a love note.

Apparently, it's real for Child #4 too!

Looking forward to seeing you in stores on May 10, Sherry!

Oh, and Child #4 picked the winner for the I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP paperback contest. Congratulations, Olivia!! My people will email your people for an address. Happy Reading! Thanks to everyone who entered.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Town Monday: Kicking It In San Diego, CA

Happy Monday!

We're living very laid-back and lazy days at chez Summy. All the students are now on spring break. Some of the family have left for Oklahoma to visit relatives. College decisions have been pushed to the back burner. Child #4 is on her second week of vacation. I read an entire book in two days: Elizabeth and After by Matt Cohen. Great book! Cohen won the Governor General's Award for this novel in 1999, only sixteen days before dying of lung cancer. If you've got a few minutes and want to learn a little more about Matt Cohen, here's a link.

And because we're all relaxed and de-stressed, today's My Town Monday post will follow suit.

Yesterday was pretty much an all-female day here. Child #4 invited a friend over. Here they are chatting in a chilly pool (72 degrees!) I do love fifth graders and eavesdrop every chance I get!

Child #4 and her friend spent HOURS going back and forth between the cold pool and a warm bath. Finally, they got dressed, then spent HOURS scrapbooking.

It was one of those days when all disputes can be solved with a game of "rock, paper, scissors."

I'm hoping for more mellow today. Although we may have to take Mr. Conehead (our male veiled chameleon) into the vet. The pointy casque on the top of his head is swollen. I'm wondering if he has an infection of some sort. Maybe from a cricket bite?

Wishing you all a slowed-down Monday, where you get a chance to stop and smell the roses.

I'm this week's hostess. If you throw up a My Town Monday post, let me know here or on the official My Town Monday blog, and I'l link to you on both.

Please check out these delightful My Town Monday posts:

Debra of From Skilled Hands' gallery gets a new look in the Village of Peninsula, OH.

Jim Winters posts about the death of a streetcar in Cincinnati, OH.

Clare2E of Women of Mystery brings us a strong and indepdent daffodil from New York.

p.s. Random House sent me several paperback copies of I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP. If you're interested in a free copy, leave your name and email in the comment section. I'll have Child #4 pick a winner next Friday. She can choose two winners (one from here on the blog and one from Facebook).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Week Round-Up at the Summy House

It's been a full week with Child #4 (10 year-old daughter) off for the first of her two weeks of spring break. Does she continually mention to the brothers that she has two weeks while they only have one? Uh, yes! Because that's what little sisters do!

Below, in order of excitment (most exciting to least) are three events from our week:

It's a box of Makeups! My copies of I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP arrived from Random House. The paperback came out earlier this month.

Actually, I'd forgotten they were sending so many copies. So, if you want a free copy of I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP, leave your name and email in the comment section. I'll have Child #4 pick a winner next Friday. She can choose two winners (one from here on the blog and one from Facebook).

We had a good visit at Occidental College. Child #2, a senior in high school, is considering this college. We went on a campus tour, chatted with a counselor in the Career Development Center, chatted with Financial Aid, chatted with the water polo coach, watched a polo practice, checked out the bookstore, ate in the cafeteria with students, chatted with random students. Well, the latter was mostly me.

When do we have to make a decision? By May 1st!!! And we are not a family who makes decisions in haste. In fact, one of us is intensely indecisive and is known to revisit a decision over and over and over. Me!

Oh, the photo? The conveyor belt in the cafeteria won over Child #4's heart. She was ready to sign on the dotted line post lunch.

Our local cricket farm (where we buy crickets for our veiled chameleons) finally figured out how to get rid of the cricket virus they've been battling for months. The virus paralyzes crickets at four weeks of age.

How did they solve the problem? They switched breeds of crickets. Now they're raising crickets from Florida. This photo shows our container, along with a few quarters to give you a sense of size, of 250 5-week Floridian (love that word!) crickets. See how well we feed them--kale, apples, damp sponges for drinks of water. We're the ultimate in cricket motels!

Remember: if you want a free copy of I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP, leave your name and email in the comment section. I'll have Child #4 pick a winner next Friday. She can choose two winners (one from here on the blog and one from Facebook).

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Monday, April 11, 2011

My-Town-Monday: Occidental College, LA

On this fine Monday, I'm off to visit Occidental College with Child #2. Oxy, as it's called, is a small, private, liberal arts college located in northeast Los Angeles. If the L.A. traffic is kind to us, it will take just a little over two hours to drive there.

The college really is small, with a student body of a little over 2,000. The professor:student ratio is about 9:1. The campus sits on 120 acres. The student body is diverse and proud of it. I did point out to Child #2 (a son) that there are more females than males at Oxy! President Obama did his first two years at Oxy, then transferred to Columbia. At least, I think that's correct. I read somewhere else that he studied for less than two years at Oxy.

Oxy was founded in 1887 by Presbyterians. It's near the beach, Hollywood and all manner of LA attractions. And students get free parking on campus, which come in really handy for a certain student's mother! Oxy's mascot is Oswald the Tiger. And, weirdly, the school colors are orange and black, which are the same school colors of Oklahoma State where Mr. Summy and I met.

I'm really, really curious to see the campus tomorrow. It's one of Child #2's top picks, but this is his first visit. Will he feel at home there? He'll be sitting in on a history class. That should be interesting. I'd like to sit in on a class to too, but I don't see it happening. Especially as I'll have Child #4, who is happily on spring break, with me!

You've probably seen Oxy in a movie. The campus has been featured in Clueless, Orange County, Jurassic Park III, and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wishing Mr. Summy a belated Happy Birthday! His birthday was yesterday, and we did wish him a happy birthday then and bake him cupcakes and present him with gifts. So, it's just belated on the blog. ;)

Child #4 (10 year-old daughter) gave her father the above game, Hedbanz, after seeing how much fun Carley, Sam and Freddie had with it on iCarley. Her father was a good sport, as were the brothers, and we all sat around the kitchen table with plastic headbands around our heads, each trying to guess the card clipped into our respective headband. Guess who lost? ME! I am THE worst at word games!!! You should see me at Wheel of Fortune. It's abysmal!

Click here for links to more My Town Monday posts! It's always fun to see what's going on in other corners of the world.


Friday, April 8, 2011

On Letters and Child #4

A couple of weeks ago, Child #4 (10 year old daughter) came up with the bright idea of making a homemade mailbox and affixing it to her bedroom door. Her goal? To receive lots of letters, primarily from her parents. But she didn't want just any kind of letter. Oh no. She wanted letters that extolled her many talents and skills!

So, I began leaving her short missives with messages about the joys of having her as a daughter, her exquisite piano playing, her thoughtfulness, her culinary capabilities, her mastery of the multiplication facts, etc.

Then, last week, I walked down the hall to discover mailboxes on my bedroom door. I couldn't wait to get a letter. A letter where Child #4 would write of my maternal love and kindness and thank me for quizzing her on her recent science test material, for staying up late to launder her favorite jeans, for inviting her friends over and feeding them treats and the list goes on and on.

The next morning, the corner of a piece of lined paper peeked up from the fold in my mailbox.

My first letter!

"Don't read it until you get back from taking me to school," instructed Child #4.

I rushed home, walking the dog a little more quickly than usual. I plugged in the kettle, then sat done to read my letter.

Here it is . . .

Apparently, Child #4 wants a cell phone for her upcoming birthday.

Happy Friday, everyone! If you're in San Diego, stay dry.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Book Review Club (April 2011)

Welcome to our TWENTY-EIGHTH book review club meeting! If you're of a mathematical bent, that adds up to over FOUR HUNDRED books reviewed! Whew. It's almost enough to send you running to a comfortable chair for a cup of java and a quiet read! Also...drum roll...Sarahlynn is reviewing ROPE 'EM, a picture book by our very own Stacy Nyikos!! I'll keep my review relatively short so that you keep scrolling to the many links below that lead to outstanding reviews. Enjoy!


This non-fiction, 270-page book deals wih the female face of the bully. Ms. Simmons interviews many, many adolescent (when bullying peaks amongs girls) girls about being bullied and about bullying. She also talks to grown women who still bear the scars of years later. And how do girls bully? They use techniques that many of us recognize: the silent treatment, backbiting, excluding the victim, spreading rumors, name-calling, non-verbal gesturing (eg. eye rolling), and more.

Ms. Simmons often quotes the girls she interviewed. "I'm such a scared person now...I'm always worried about what people think about me. I'm always worried about what people are going to say about me behind my back...I'm always worried about why people hate me..." (pg. 98)

This wasn't the easiest book to read; my stomach was often in a knot. I have a daughter who will soon have to navigate those tricky adolescent waters. A character in my current manuscript must deal with a mean girl. And I couldn't help remembering a girl from my junior high days who was ostracized for at least a grade. I didn't pick on her, but I also didn't stick up for her. I'm really sorry now that I didn't befriend her. Wherever you are today, Helen, I hope you're happy, healthy and thriving.

You'll be happy to know the last couple of chapters offer suggestions to girls, parents, and teachers.

This was a very thought-provoking book.

Here's a link to the author's website: Rachel Simmons

And now....onto all the magnificent reviews below!


Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: ROPE 'EM by Stacy Nyikos** Stacy is one of our very own reviewers**


Stacy Nyikos: MOCKINGBIRD by Kathryn Erskine (middle grade)

Staci of Life in the Thumb: LOST & FOUND by Shaun Tan (middle grade, graphic novel)

Kaye of the Book Review Forum: PRINCESS ACADEMY by Shannon Hale (Young Adult)


Sarah Laurence: THE HOTEL IRIS & THE HOUSEKEEPER and THE PROFESSOR by Yoko Ogawa, translated from Japanese by Stephen Snyder (2 books, literary fiction)

Scott Parker: SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH by J.T. Ellison (mystery)

Patti Abbott: MILDRED PIERCE by James Cain

Kathy Holmes: ME AND MR. DARCY by Alexandra Potter (chick lit)

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: SEA ESCAPE by Lynn Griffin

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: DUNE by Frank Herbert (science fiction)

Beth Yarnall: HOW TO MARRY A DUKE by Vicky Dreiling (Regency Romance)

Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: I STILL DREAM OF YOU by Fannie Flagg

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: VIENNA WALTZ by Theresa Grant (Historial Mystery)


Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: VEGANOMICON by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

(Note to Wonderful and Brilliant Reviewers: Leave a comment or shoot me an email if you find an error. An error or ten wouldn't be out of character!)

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Town Monday: Invasion of the Sea Lions, Oceanside, CA

This past February, I wrote about selling our baby veiled chameleons to a reptile store in Oceanside. A year before that, I wrote about a great Oceanside Thai restaurant and its awesome aquarium. And in 2009, I visited the Oceanside Pier.

For today's My Town Monday post, we're headed 39 miles up the coast, back to Oceanside, CA. To investigate....(cue scary music)...

The Invasion of the Sea Lions!!!

This is a California sea lion. (Thank you google images.) Not to be confused with a harbor seal, the California sea lion, known in science-y circles as Zalophus californianus, has external ear flaps and, with their noted intelligence, often are the trained "seals" you see at zoos and aquariums.

The California sea lion is found along the Pacific Coast from Vancouver Island, Canada (Hello Homeland!) all the way down to Baja, Mexico. There are also California sea lions at the Galapagos Islands. And there used to be some in the Sea of Japan, but this group has been extinct since World War II.

More recently, though, California sea lions have invaded the Oceanside Harbor! Yes, bulls (adult males who can reach seven feet and weigh 850-1,000 pounds) and their harems (females can reach six feet and weigh 220 pounds) have taken over Oceanside Harbor and show no signs of leaving.

The natives are not amused! The sea lions leave behind smelly poop, are raucous barkers all night long and eat the live bait kept in underwater cages by fishing companies.

To complicate matters, sea lions are protected under federal law. However, it is legal to hose them down, pelt them with paint balls, and accost them with loud noises and pinwheels. Thus far, hosing them down hasn't fazed the pinnpeds in the least. Pinwheels will be tried this week. As of yet, no one has resorted to paint balls. Although mating season begins in May, at which time the bulls become more aggressive.

I'll keep you posted.

And, going totally off topic for a second, I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP will be released in paperback TOMORROW!! Woohoo!!! Please feel free to buy a baker's dozen. Or more. :) Sorry, but I have to do a bit of this promotion thing from time to time. :)

Click here for links to more My Town Monday posts. It's always fun to see what's going on in other corners of the world. Enjoy your first Monday of April!

p.s. The Oceanside California sea lions are not to be confused with the harbor seals at the La Jolla Children's Pool.