Wednesday, December 30, 2009

T-Shirt Memory Quilt

This quilt turned out just beautifully! These are t-shirts from Lyndsey's childhood from Scouts to Indian Princesses to DeWitt Perry Middle School to RLTurner HS. I hope she treasures it and enjoys looking at it as much as I do.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy 2010, Peeps!

Happy New Year everyone! It has been ages since I have blogged and the reason is, yes, this is embarrassing, I could not figure our how to log in. My old login method did not recognize me and kept telling me I did not have a blog. It recognized a gmail address, but that is not what my blog recognized as me! When LAG came home, she figured out what I would need to do, and eureka, it seems to be working!

Now if I only had something to report!!

We have had a lovely Christmas, with, believe it or not, two snow falls within a week of one another! The first was Christmas Eve/Christmas morning, and was really pretty. This opinion may not be shared by folks who were travelling, but for those who stayed home, lovely! And today is the second snow fall day. We are blessed!

I have read a few books and may share some reviews of the ones I think you should read! I have made a few trips and enjoyed some visits with friends old and new. And of course, I can report on the comings and goings of my incredibly interesting children!! They love it when I tell their stories....NOT!

Tomorrow I may try to remember how to post a photo. I am almost confident about doing it on FB now, but probably will have forgotten the blog way...we shall see.

Peace/Out, Peeps.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Monday and Tuesday in Chicago

This day started with a cutting edge presentation on Sex in YA Literature: From Blume to Block and Beyond. It was indeed informative and thought provoking. Authors Lynn Biederman and Laura Ruby used statistics and literary examples to answer the question, "How well does today's YA teen literature reflect teen reality?" The third panelist, Dr. Marty Klein, is a published author on sexuality and a licensed marriage counselor. He brought the clinical perspective to bear with pragmatic good humor.

I heard author Lisa Scottoline speak at the convention center and then shuttled to the Fairmont to hear her again at the Gala Author Tea, sponsored by ALTAFF and Reference Group. Four additional authors joined Ms. Scottoline to tell a little about themselves and their books. Yes, we had tea, and yes, we had scones, but the big highlight was receiving copies of each of their books. I received Kathryn Stockett's The Help; Jane Stanton Hitchcock's Mortal Friends; Jill McCorkle's Going Away Shoes: Stories; Gillian Flynn's Dark Places; and Lisa Scottoline's Look Again.

That evening I attended the Michael Printz Awards Program and heard Margo Lanagan accept an award for Tender Morsels, a recasting of an age old fairy tale, Snow White and Rose Red. Other honorees included Terry Pratchett, Nation; Melina Marchetta, Jellicoe Road; and M.T. Anderson, author of Octavian Nothing, Vol. II.

Tuesday was the exciting SuperTuesday, the last day that the Exhibit Hall was open...lots of free food, free books and opportunities to win good stuff...iPods, Kindles, etc. I didn't win but I got a free T shirt for showing up!

My last official event was a lovely dinner at the Hilton Chicago Grand Ballroom where the newly elected ALA officers were installed. Lots of fancy dresses, a properly served multi-course dinner and some inspirational speeches were all highlights. The new president, Camilla Alire, has entitled her Presidential Initiative, "Libraries: The Heart of All Communities." She is emphasizing family literacy, teaching reading skills to adults and training future librarians, including the more mature career- changing candidates.

At every event I attended, my experience was enriched by conversations with librarians, advocates and trustees from all over the nation and occasionally from other nations across the world. What a privilege to represent Farmers Branch Manske Memorial Library!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sunday In Chicago

Sunday started with the Literary Tastes Breakfast at the Palmer House Hilton. Once again, I got to spend quality time with Wendy Cornelisen, who also had made a reservation for this event. Four very entertaining authors were featured. Mark Harris told how he came to write Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. Peter Manseau, (Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter) and Nick Taylor, (American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA, When FDR Put the Nation to Work), told how their books came into being. Toby Barlow, a first time novelist, spoke about his book Sharp Teeth, and gave a very humorous version of his inspiration and work. Had an armload again when I left that breakfast!

Next on the agenda, and thankfully in the same hotel, was a program called Revitalizing the Library Experience which was sponsored by ASCLA (Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies). The presenters, Joan Frye Williams and George Needham focused on what library patrons, or would-be patrons, really want.

From there I shuttled to the convention center and spent some quality time in the Exhibits Hall…so many vendors, so many books available for free or cheap…sometimes limited only by one’s willingness to stand in very long lines for very popular authors. But when I did, I met such neat people from all over the country and even beyond.

I then attended a very thought provoking program featuring Tom Blanton, pictured above, who is an expert on government openness and secrecy.

Later that evening I attended an ALTAFF program called The Laugh’s on Us! It featured six female author/humorists including Paula Poundstone (There’s Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say). She was joined by authors Anita Renfroe (Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You: Kids, Carbs, and the coming Hormonal Apocalyse); Mishna Wolff (I’m Down); Jen Lancaster (Pretty In Plaid: A Life, A Witch, and a Wardrobe, or the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase); Lisa Grunberger (Yiddish Yoga: Ruthie’s Adventures in Love, Loss, and the Lotus Position); and Elizabeth Beckwith (Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation).

It was so entertaining that I didn’t mind that the shuttle had stopped running and took the City bus back to the hotel, toting a couple of very heavy tote bags! (Smooth sailing, and actually a more direct route than the shuttles…)

Saturday in Chicago

Attended an orientation for first timers at the Palmer House Hilton first thing in the morning. Several speakers covered varied aspects of how to get the most out of the convention experience. The emphasis was on joining a group, i.e., NMRT (New Member Round Table), and getting busy. The smaller the group, the more likely you are to get involved. I resisted the temptation to join and sign up for a committee.

I hopped the shuttle to the convention center and attended a program called Literacy, Leadership and Librarian Flair. Featured speakers were Laurie Halse Anderson, Alan Sitomer and a young poet named Jacqueline Woodson.

I actually went because one of Ms. Anderson's books was one of my favorites in the Riverchase Library and I read it aloud around Thanksgiving time. It was Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving. The text was so exuberant, a real page turner and great read aloud book! Little did I know that she has ditched kiddie lit and is writing cutting edge teen stuff. Her website is at and her blog is I will have to read one of her novels and evaluate the wisdom of her progression. Just like I'll have to read the other two panelists. I did enjoy listening to their presentations. Mr Sitomer has a couple of websites, and . He remains a high school teacher and his power point featured some of his students. Pretty powerful stuff. So, these authors are movers and shakers in the YA Lit category, and their presentations were well worth hearing. For example, I learned the new 3 R's that real books provide: Relevance, Relationship and Rigor, from Mr. Sitomer.

From there I shuttled to the Hyatt Regency to enjoy Debbie Macomber relating her journey to becoming a published author in Put A Little Romance In Your Life. She and I are pictured above. My new friend Wendy Cornelisen, a Reference librarian in Brentwood, TN, took the picture. I mistakenly remembered Ms.Macomber as one of the authors we were going to read in our Book Club, and so I thought it would give my peeps a thrill. But, alas, she is not on our This Year's Reading List after all.

I returned to the convention center to hear Love is in the Air – Romance Writers Discuss their Work. Ms. Macomber was joined by Laura Caldwell, Cathie Linz, and Eloisa James. The ladies were most entertaining as they discussed their works and then autographed copies of their books for audience members. At this stop I collected an arm load of books, not to mention a really cool tote bag from Harlequin Publishing. The titles are Sooner or Later by Debbie Macomber, Red Hot Lies by Laura Caldwell, Smart Girls Think Twice by Cathie Linz, and A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James.

Immediately following this presentation I attended the Opening General Session which featured Christie Hefner, recalling changes and growth she oversaw in the Playboy organization. Sorry, no take aways from here...

The evening was capped off by the ALA/Proquest Scholarship Bash, which was held at the Art Institute of Chicago. I ran into Wendy Cornelisen again, and toured with Wendy and another librarian she introduced me to...what fun ladies! What an impressive collection! My word! Monet, Manet, John Singer Sargent, Seurat, Van Gogh…just incredible, and I didn’t see everything! Oh, and I must mention Grant Wood’s American Gothic. That painting is memorialized with a larger than life statue in one of the parks on Michigan Avenue, and the reason is evidently that it is part of their collection.

Friday in Chicago

Friday July 10, I took a river cruise to see Chicago architecture...very interesting and informative commentary...I took lots of pictures and don't remember now what commentary goes with which building...however, I do remember them saying that at one point they had passed a city ordinance that required riverfront property owners to face the river instead of backing up to it. Brilliant stroke, I think. It is a visually exciting cruise that otherwise would have been like riding down a river alley. The cylinder-shaped buildings are parking garages. There is a high rise where tenants can park their boats under the building!

I left the cruise at the Navy Pier. I checked out the sculptures (did you recognize Bob Newhart and his couch up there?) and sites along the Pier, but then felt the need to take the Riverwalk, more or less, to the Westin, where the library fashion show was held. I thought this might be slightly satirical in nature (forgive me, Librarians!) but turned out these ladies were modeling their own clothes and they looked really good.

It will be a real victory for me, btw, when I figure out how to align the pics with the actual paragraph that references them...but for now....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Chicago/ALA Adventure

See the rainbow?

My room was on the 35th floor and faced Lake Michigan. It was rainy the day I arrived and this was the view out the window at sunset-ish. That glare spot is from the setting sun shining on the glass building across the way, I think, not my camera flash, but who knows???

Anyway, later that night there were fireworks at the Navy Pier right behind those tacky buildings between me and the lake. So I heard the popping and looked out in time to see the edges of the light show, and that was pretty great. No telling what it would be like if you were actually there!

So that was Day 1. I got there a day before the action started because when I went to the Texas Library Association conference earlier this year, my flight was delayed so long that I didn't make the first event I had planned to attend. On Thursday morning I learned how to take the City bus to the Convention Center, as the Shuttles hadn't started running yet. For the problem at all!

I picked up my credentials and looked around a little. On my bus trip back to the hotel, I met a lady at the bus stop who turned out to be the Executive Director of ALTAFF (Assn. of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations)! Had a really nice visit with her, and then saw her periodically throughout the week. That was neat to have a friend (or near stranger, as she would probably say!) to say hi to and give her quick updates on my adventures. She would smile and feign interest...I don't need much encouragement!

That evening I got to go to the taping of "Wait, Wait..Don't Tell Me!" with 500 of my new ALA doubt mostly librarians. Everyone associated with the show was so funny...even the House Manager! And the people who called in were funny enough to be panelists! Another highlight was staying seated after the show to watch their "do-overs". For instance, host Peter Sagal had mentioned doing research on Wikipedia, which got a strong and hilarious reaction at the time...but then they cut that reference with a tapeover! After the tape overs were complete, the cast stayed on stage and answered questions. All in all, a delightful experience.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Gala Orr/Neal Reception

Bobby and Bertha looking as wonderful and happy as the parents of Beautiful Mrs. Sean Neal could possibly be!
Catherine has made the startling discovery of new life!
Rachel and Paula are the prettiest bridesmaids ever, and Catherine loves all her Orr girls!!
Briana and Sean with their biggest fan, Catherine.
The cakes were beautiful, as you can see!

Carlos Lopez and his sweet bride Kathy joined in the festivities with us. Catherine really enjoyed quality time with them! Kathy Johnston and I enjoyed visiting about weddings, table know, the usual!

Catherine spent time with the great parents of the beautiful bride, Bertha and Bobby Orr.

Also joining us at our table were Charley and Kathy Johnston and Gary and Linda Brantley.

Bob and Amy McAfee along with David and Claudia Sowell were at our table at the reception.
The centerpieces were as elegant as the company we keep!

Sean and Briana

I really love to read blogs of my peeps and mourn that Facebook is so much easier to post pictures and say just a word or two and move on that blog posts are getting all too rare...LAG, BJB, KJV, are you listening?? But I digress. What I'm thinking is that my blogs are a tad sporadic too. The word dormant comes to mind....

But I have a great camera that can do more things than I can think to ask of it, and I want to share some of the photos and the thoughts that may go along with them, on the blog. I already have put some current ones (Andy and Jessica Jeffrey's wedding) on Facebook, but the camera was also carrying great (to my mind) shots from Brianna and Sean Neal's wedding and some from the PWRW luncheon that happened a month or two ago and that seems sort of lame to act like they are current news on FB.

Here, I can laboriously add them and when they are discovered slowly by others, they will assume they got posted in a timely fashion and the reader is just late getting to the party...Sound like a plan? Yeppers, I thought so!

The trick will be remembering how to insert photos.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, never again "just another day"

Today is an exciting day personally, because I am looking forward to picking up Lyndsey tonight at the airport so she can be here for Catherine's shower Saturday. I am baking some little loaves to add to the gift bags Cath has prepared for her hostesses. Another thing that is pleasing me is that my boy is purposing to spend actual time daily reviewing German, so that he may actually pass German III, take G-IV next semester, and then be actually done with undergrad forever!! Brothers and sisters, it has been a long time coming, but my anticipatory joy is bubbling!!

However, this is September 11, and one must pause and ponder the tragic events that are being memorialized today. Most every American surely remembers their circumstances in great detail on what began as just another day seven years ago.

It took a little while for me to realize the enormous horror of the events as slowly the fear began to grow that there might be more horror in store for us. James and I were in California moving Lyndsey in to the apartment that would be her home as she started grad school at UCI. That morning James got up and walked over to the Marriott lobby to check out the breakfast offerings. I turned on the tv and saw the airplanes flying into the buildings and smoke pouring out of the side of the Towers. But I thought it was a movie and changed the channel, only to see the same "movie" running there. When James came back, he made it clear that it was very real.

Goodness, my thoughts were every where at once. What did we need to do? Catherine and Phil were at ACU and we had left Valerie at home so she would not miss school. James' mom had come over to stay with her. In the midst of the flurry of phone calls, I heard from my sister Jan that her eldest son's third son was arriving on that fateful day in Evansville, Indiana. Joy and new life in the midst of the horror and death that was consuming our senses on that day. It was good to have a reason to praise and thank God for good things. And Happy Birthday to Aiden!

We went over to have breakfast and stared at the tv in quietness with all the other Marriott guests and staff. Eventually we drove over to Lyndsey's apartment to do the things we had come to do. But virtually every store we went to had closed. People were fearful that something terrible was about to happen in Los Angeles and everyone just wanted to be at home. We were fortunate that we had our car because we began to hear soon of airports closing.

Our hearts were broken as we saw footage of frightened dusty people running through the streets of New York and heard of the heroism of some of our American citizens on those doomed flights, and the stories of the firefighters who sacrificed themselves in an attempt to rescue workers trapped in the Twin Towers. Our patriotic feelings surged as we realized the strength and courage displayed by all those who responded so quickly and made decisions which protected and saved lives of many who were strangers to them. May we never forget.