A good week

Hi everyone,

A short week but a good one. We returned from Oregon on Tuesday after a great trip with Jeff and Jennifer that included Portland, Crater Lake, Sunriver, and Cannon Beach. Spectacular views, wonderful food, and loving company. Couldn’t ask for more or better.

I’m twenty work-days away from my Fairfax deadline and feel confident I can make it. A lot of things are going undone for now but it won’t be much longer before I can return to a more normal routine. This past week I agreed on terms for an old story of mine, “The Little Boy’s Secret,” to appear in a U.K. HarperCollins anthology for 7-year-olds. The story originally came out in THE BOOK OF GIANT STORIES, co-published by American Heritage Press in the U.S.A. and Jonathan Caple in England in 1972.

I’m set for a virtual return on October 30 to The BookMark in Neptune Beach, Florida. This time I’m introducing the new book, I WANT AN APPLE. I look forward to it.

I began sketching notes for a video I promised to make as part of the Fairfax project. I need to make it before the end of November. Mary Jo Fresch, Laura Robb, Tim Rasinski, and I made plans to rehearse a 60-minute webinar for California Reading Conference that will be broadcast live on November 18.

Next week I speak at American Association of School Librarians at its national conference in Salt Lake City. Kate Coombs and I will discuss science/nature-based poetry for young people. Our presentation, “Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Connecting Young Readers to Nature,” will be moderated by award winning librarian Amanda Jones from Louisiana. I’ll speak on the subject in general but with emphasis on THE DIRT BOOK.

Time to get to work.

Still smiling

Hi everyone,

I had a fine day yesterday celebrating my birthday with Sandy, Robin, and Jeff. Thank you, Tim, for loaning us your wife, and thank you, Jennifer, for loaning us your husband. And thank you to everybody who took the time to send me birthday wishes. I did the best I could to keep up but if I missed thanking you, forgive me. I loved each and every one.

I’m Petey. What’s your name?

Hi everyone,

I met the new member of the family out in Oregon. He’s pretty charming for such a young fellow. He can speak for himself.

I’m Petey. What’s your name? They call me a Bichone. Right. I checked online and I’m actually a cross between Great Dane and St. Bernard.

I was born in a sofa. One day I just popped out. “They” say I came from Florida, but they are often mistaken and hard to train.

Here they are — my slaves. I got one of each kind. He’s big and strong and thinks he’s in charge. She’s pretty and has brown eyes and she thinks she’s in charge. Really? They keep forgetting who owns them. They’re forever wandering off to do silly thing, like taking their eyes off of me. See what I mean? The ocean bores me. I like grass better. But not to poop in though. They keep wanting me to go outside to poop in the grass. Do you have any idea what grass feels like on your butt? It’s all itchy and scratchy. And CATS pee in it!! Nope, I think I’ll hold it until I get back inside to the nice warm floor. It is my house after all.

You have no idea how long it took to train her to look where I want to look. I like her though. She teaches children. I haven’t made my mind up about children yet. I mean, what can they do for me?

Here’s another trick that took a while and tons of practice. When I say, “Reach down and pet me,” it’s her job to stop wherever we are and reach down and pet me. How hard is that?

Dealing with old people is a whole different matter. I was going to send this one home until I discovered wax in his ears. Now that’s pretty good stuff. Note to self: check to see if children have wax in their ears.

I know you enjoyed meeting me. But I’m through with you for now. You may leave. I’ll bark if I need anything.

Leaving Oregon

Hi everyone,

We returned home yesterday from a seven day trip to see Jeff and Jennifer in Portland and Cannon Beach, Oregon. I’ll tell you about all our wonderful visit later but this morning I’m sad for all the people in Oregon, California, Colorado, and everywhere else who are being devastated by the unending, high-wind driven fires.

At J&J’s house at Cannon Beach, they have a majestic view of the valley from their back deck. On Tuesday we could already see smoke drifting in over the hills.

Here’s the same view two days later as we were leaving for Portland. And here is all we could see of downtown Portland yesterday as we headed to the airport. By then Portland had been judged the worst air quality of any major city in the world. Fires have already caused 500,000 people to evacuate or be prepared to, and small hamlets have been entirely wiped out. So very sad.