Fun in the Sun

I just had to share this fun photo booth series of moi and my husband, taken on Saturday night at my BFF’s wedding reception. What a gorgeous weekend, and how lucky we were to be on Nantucket, one of the most gorgeous places on earth, celebrating the union of our amazing friends!

Tune in tomorrow for a very different post: I’ll be revealing before and after pics of our summer-long landscaping project. If you like “yard porn,” you’re in for a treat!

Bookish Babes in Burlington

Another great weekend, thanks to the good folks at the Burlington Book Festival; the amazing Phoenix Books, which cheerfully and tirelessly sold books at the event; and the other writerly ladies with whom I shared a dinner table, a stage, and a VERY large panel: Elizabeth Bluemle, Jo Knowles, Erica Perl, Tanya Lee Stone, Linda UrbanSarah Aronson, Sarah Albee, Jeannine Atkins, Cynthia Lord, Ammi-Joan Paquette, and Kate Messner. Oh, and a BIG thanks to my husband, for driving, and being all-around awesome.

After a rainy drive through most of lower New England on Saturday, we were welcomed by a beautiful afternoon in Vermont. The above photo is the view from our swanky hotel in Stowe, where everyone seemed to walk around in their bathrobes, having just had spa treatments or a dip in the humungous pool. Not one to resist a trend (or a temptation), I indulged in a very, very luxurious pedicure.

Afterwards, we met up with some of our fellow book festival peeps for dinner. Wine was imbibed, locavoracious (is that a word? if not, it should be) burgers and salads were eaten, and lively conversation was shared. What a treat, to be able to spend some downtime with such smart, funny, lovely people. And I finally got to meet Erica Perl, after many years of appreciation from afar!

Did I mention how great our hotel was? Well, the bonus was that it was close to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where my husband and I were able to enjoy a good, nutritious Sunday breakfast of warm apple cider donuts and coffee. Already, my day was off to a good start. And it only got better!

Here I am inspecting the roster for the day (and ignoring the extra space in my last name). What a line-up! I’m so honored I was able to be a part of it. And specifically, I got to present my books alongside writer and bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle! I read from UGLY FISH, she read from the amazing My Father, the Dog, we chatted about what inspired our stories, and then I read from OTTO: The Boy Who Loved Cars. My favorite moment was when I’d just opened UGLY FISH to start reading, and a little tyke in the audience turned to her mom and loudly asked, “Mama, is she DONE yet?” Ha!

Here’s a shot of moi in action (I always have a weird look on my face when I’m photographed reading UGLY FISH, because I’m in the midst of doing all the voices):

Afterwards, I participated in a “super panel” featuring all of the participating children’s authors (except for David Macaulay, who was probably still receiving fans in his very long signing line). We talked about “craft” books we recommend (Bird by Bird, one of my own faves, was a common choice), our journeys to become writers, funny kids’ books we like (currently, I’m loving Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back, and not just because it’s published by my alma mater, Candlewick), and if we could think of any male middle grade or YA novelists who write from a female perspective. On the spot, we could only come up with Kevin Henkes (Olive’s Ocean and Junonia). Can you think of others?

Then I signed some books, met some terrific new fans, and it was time to get back on the road for a very, very long drive home. Thankfully, Vermont gifted us with some pretty stellar weather, so we got to enjoy some sublime scenery. All in all, it was a perfect weekend filled with friends and fun and fabulous books. I can’t think of a better way to welcome the fall season.

Lucky moi

Above: Card from my grandmother. Yes, I just got this over the weekend, and not when I was twelve.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. I’m still processing the events of the past weekend, which included trips to Connecticut and NYC, an all-star cast of friends and family, a deluge of prosecco, a red velvet cupcake (consumed yesterday at exactly 2:58pm, the very minute I was born), and one VERY thoughtful husband.

Also, I purchased a little something for myself: a signet ring with the date of my birthday engraved inside. It’s my new favorite thing.

I’m feeling very lucky, very loved, and very young at heart. And I’m grateful for all of you, who continue to make all three possible.

A bushel of brains

Is it just me, or is the tone of the above fortune a little condescending? Maybe it’s the double smiley emoticon.

I just had my quarterly CT scan yesterday morning, so that handful of patience is going to come in handy. Not that I expect bad news; I just hate waiting, almost as much as I hate having to wake up at 7am to drink 900ml of “creamy vanilla smoothie” (a cruel name for what is actually barium sulfate) prior to the testing. Thankfully, my husband and I have a tradition going where he takes me out for breakfast afterwards, to the best diner in the world, where I enjoy a stack of enormous blueberry pancakes. The whole time they’re putting in the IV and pumping me full of contrast fluids and having me hold my breath for ungodly stretches of time while they scan me, a mantra is repeating in my head: “Pancakes. Pancakes. Pancakes.”

Later, after my system was devoid of barium and full of pancakes, I got some fun news: I’ll be reading and signing OTTO-graphs at my local indie, Books on the Square, on Saturday, October 22 at noon.

“OTTO-graphs.” See what I did there?