Showing posts from January, 2016

Photography Practice

Kevin has a fancy camera, and he takes lovely pictures. He would say the lovely pictures are because of the fancy camera, but everyone has seen uninspired pictures taken on fancy cameras, so I call bullshit on that. He takes lovely pictures because he's good at it. Here's a photo he took of my most recent Halloween costume.

Next week, I'm leaving on a very (very!) exciting trip. In the past, when I've gone on exciting trips, I've taken photos on my iPhone, and really, considering the phone's limitations, I guess I can't complain. However, next week's trip is extra exciting, and deserves something more. So Kevin is generously sending me off with Fancy Camera.

Fancy Camera is much more complicated than other cameras I've used! Therefore, I've been practicing. This involves things like lining up some shoes on my living room floor, lying down on the rug, and experimenting with focal points and apertures and shutter speeds and other camera words.

If …

The common house zebra, when frightened, hides in the sock drawer. (For camouflage.)

This week I discovered that it's astonishingly easy for a person with minimal sewing skills to make a zebra out of socks.

It took me maybe two hours to make Basil, no more, no kidding. I used this wonderful sock zebra pattern/tutorial at The Sewing Directory by Caroline Short, with only minor alterations.

The main thing I altered in the pattern is that I wanted Basil to have free arms, separate from his body. If you use tall enough socks (this pair went about halfway up the shin), you'll have enough sock material in the sock you use for the head to create both the ears and a couple of slender arms, which I then hemmed, stuffed, and attached to the torso.

This was so straightforward that I'm not sure why the world isn't overrun with sock zebras.

(Basil says that would be a good thing.)

Some Links to the Ongoing Conversation about Scholastic's Decision to Stop Distribution of A Birthday Cake for George Washington

(These links are by no means exhaustive, but each of them is worth reading, so I wanted to share. Thanks to Becca, Malinda, Sarah, Sarah, Anne, Nancy, and all my friends who keep me in the loop!)

Here's a link to the announcement at Scholastic. An excerpt: "Scholastic is announcing today that we are stopping the distribution of the book entitled A Birthday Cake for George Washington, by Ramin Ganeshram and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, and will accept all returns. While we have great respect for the integrity and scholarship of the author, illustrator, and editor, we believe that, without more historical background on the evils of slavery than this book for younger children can provide, the book may give a false impression of the reality of the lives of slaves and therefore should be withdrawn."

Here's a perspective from Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, whose research at the University of Pennsylvania includes representations of slavery in children's literature…

Too Sad

Here's my office wall....

And here's David Bowie, A Life in Pictures.

Rest in peace, Alan Rickman and David Bowie. You were taken too soon.


It's ALA Midwinter weekend and I'm eagerly awaiting a call from the Unreliable Blogger Award committee. Maybe you guys lost my number?

So, it's well past the point of apologies here on the blog, but I am sorry I've been so absent, I've missed blogging, and in fact, one of my New Year's resolutions is to ease back into blogging more often. I've been great, all is well, the work is moving along, the next book is on the verge of being scheduled. I have so much to say about it, but can't, until I get the go-ahead. Right now I'm in a stage that the writerly among you might be able to sympathize with: I'm working many hours, but with SO little forward progress. The work I'm doing right now requires intense identification with each individual character, combined with intense objectivity about each character, which is a tricky balance. It takes a lot of time and energy. The reason I'm doing this is to get a sense of whether each character rings…