Tuesday, March 28, 2006

happy birthday, garbage truck

Events with young kids provide countless anecdotes of funny behavior. My recent trip to Chicago where I mixed a family visit of my niece with some Year of the Dog book events was no exception. 33 month old Lily, adorable by any standard, filled the trip with memorable moments (including when she decided to give my presentation with me) but this is my most favorite.

"Happy Birthday," Lily sang, as my older sister Lissy, Robert and I drove home from the event.
"Happy Birthday to who?" I asked.
"Happy Birthday to Auntie Pacy," she sang (I'm Auntie Pacy, by the way).
"Thank you, Lily!" I said.
"Happy Birthday to Mama!" Lily sang, "Happy Birthday to Grandma! Happy Birthday to Grandpa!"
"How about Uncle Robert?" I asked, "Happy Birthday to Uncle Robert?"
"Happy Birthday to..." Lily sang, "Garbage Truck!"
"Garbage truck!" Robert said, "I don't get a Happy Birthday?"
"Happy Birthday to Airplane!" Lily continued, "Happy Birthday to Car! Happy Birthday to Houses! Happy Birthday..."

Needless to say, Lily wished everyone and everything in the world a happy birthday except for Robert. He was very hurt which she (and I) just found hilarious.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

travel story two

Thanks to my attempts at a Year of the Dog promotional tour, Robert and I have been traveling almost non-stop. And with this new occupation, my new hobby is to collect pressed pennies. Yes, it is sort of a dorky, touristy thing to do, but I love it. Having had my fill of easily creased postcards and unattractive photos, I decided that the pressed penny was the superior travel souvenir.

Now, one usually only runs into pressed penny machines by sheer coincidence. After obtaining my first penny and declaring my intention to start a collection, Robert scoffed at me.

"How are you going to start a pressed penny collection? We only know where one machine is," he said.

Ah, but he did not count on the power of the internet. With a little bit of determination and a lot of googling I found a map which marked pressed penny machines all over the United States. I also found an entire subculture of pressed penny collectors. See, I'm not the only one!

And with this map, I monopolized post and pre-event time with mapquest instructions to obscure locations. Robert moaned and groaned; and when friends asked how we spent our day Robert was purposely vague, embarrassed that we had spent our afternoon searching for a penny machine.

However, as the penny collection increased, Robert actually began to enjoy it. We were seeing parts of cities we probably would never have gone before. Who knew that the Desert Botanical Garden could be so fascinating? Or Old Tucson so deliciously campy? Thanks to my penny search, we were suddenly mastering the art of untried travel. No longer bogged down by going to places because we thought they were interesting, we were now going to places that sounded incredibly dull...yet were actually captivating. And even if the places were more on the tedious side, the traveling to get there was not. Each penny search became an adventure where we were encountering new and fun things; a memory for us to cherish and remember.

"It's kind of like a treasure hunt, this penny thing," Robert said to me.
"Yes," I told him, "I guess it is."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

travel story

During my recent visit to San Diego, I was fortunate to have captured affection the of the cutest 5 year old girl. Zoe, enchanted with my drawing abilities, climbed into my lap during the booksigning (which lasted over an hour)and offered to draw me a picture. I agreed.

"What do you want a picture of?" she asked.
"What do you like to draw?" I asked.
"I like to draw dinosaurs," she told me.
"Okay," I said,"draw me a dinosaur."
"What kind?" she asked.

Now, I have to admit my dinosaurology is a bit hazy. Luckily, I did watch Jurassic Park many years ago so I was able to say the basic T-Rex and Brontosaurus. Being 5 years old, I didn't expect much from Zoe except a very large scribble. However, she quickly proved me wrong--not only drawing a very appealing Brontosaurus but explaining to me that there was no such thing as a Brontosaurus (which I am ashamed to say I didn't believe until I looked it up on the internet later). This continued with drawings of a raptor and a Triceratops. At that point, I had exhausted my Jurassic Park knowledge.

"I don't know any other dinosaurs," I told her.
"Okay," she said, " I'll draw you an allosaurus and then an ankylosaurus. Then I'll draw you a suchomimus."
"Wow," I said, "Do you think you might want to be an archeologist someday?"
"You mean paleontologist," she said, laughing, "not archeologist!"


Thursday, March 09, 2006

photo album

Robert has asked me to restrain from writing so many details of our lives on this blog. "When you write it on your blog, everyone reads it," he says, "and then when we meet with people there's nothing to say because they already know anything. And then we're boring." Hmm, I'm not sure if having a blog immediately means that you become a dull conversationalist but I suppose the argument does have merit. So, because I am such a dutiful wife, I will refrain from long stories about the minor disasters (including, but not limited, to accidentally leaving my wallet on the airplane and getting the date of departure wrong); and will instead just give a brief photojournal of our recent vacation/book tour.

This is February in San Diego!

At Balboa Park, San Diego CA

Robert, happy in the sun in Balboa Park, San Diego

A moment of peace for Robert in San Diego

At the Salk Institute, a marvel of modern architecture (La Jolla, CA)

Tucson, Arizona at the Adobe Rose Inn

Sonora Desert Museum, the biggest cactus I've ever seen

desert driving from Tucson to Phoenix

It was work too! A book event in each city...