A Good Place to Start a Family

Hi everyone,

Once in a while you just have to look at your kids and go, WOW, did we start that?

Love you, Robin and Jeff. Thanks for taking after your mom.

P.S. I also happen to be blessed with wonderful daughter-in-law Jennifer and wonderful son-in-law Tim. Who could ask for more?


Homemade ice cream!

Hi everyone,

I’ve been wanting homemade ice cream all summer and this morning Sandy finally found the recipe she’s been looking for tucked into one of her cookbooks. Hooray! This afternoon I’ll go to the store for the ingredients and then get out the electric freezer. When Robin, Tim, and maybe Kris come over for dinner this evening, we’ll have the ice cream for desert!

Yesterday Sandy and I worked for hours getting the patio vacuumed and the leaves out of the pool. I turned up the heater so the water should be perfect for an afternoon swim. It’s going to be a beautiful day for a fall family pool party.

Pssst. Wanna see a happy guy?

Hi everyone,

Saturday we celebrated Tim Williams’ birthday here. Tim is our son-in-law and no one could wish for a better one. Tim and Robin’s son Kris was there along with his parents Claire and Fred Williams.

The delectable meal was made possible, of course, by none other than Sandy, my gorgeous M.O.W.

Today will have to go some to beat yesterday

Hi everyone,

Does my wife make pretty children or what? Happy birthday yesterday, sweet Robin. We loved sharing it with you!

Not only did I have a good evening, the day was fine too. It began with a SKYPE session with my writing partner, Mary Jo Fresch, about the book we’re winding up for Scholastic, BEFORE THE FIRST DRAFT, that’s due out next spring. Several teachers are involved with that one and it’s looking good.

Within hours apart I received the jacket copy for CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS, due out next spring, and hi-res art for the whole book of A PLACE TO START A FAMILY, also due next spring. Both books are looking glorious.

While I was walking around the house grinning into mirrors, I heard from a music professor in Texas that she is writing a score for men’s chorus based on my poem, “I’m Signing on a Crew,” (from PIRATES), which she found on The Poetry Foundation website. She attached the first few pages of the sheet music. So I stopped grinning and starting singing”Argh!”

And then I heard back from someone who can be helpful to me as I consider the possibility of a new nonfiction book that may take a few years to develop. So “Argh!” turned into “Wowzers!” It was a good day for vocalizing. Oh, got a school visit invitation in there too.

I also completed my part of the three-way poetry manuscript with Steve Withrow and J. Patrick Lewis.

Today I’ll get back to tweaking the poetry chapter for CHILDRENS’ LITERATURE IN THE READING PROGRAM. (Yup, due out next spring.) My deadline is May 12 but I’ve got Chicago to do between now and then.

If you can’t laugh at yourself . . .

Hi everyone,

Yesterday morning’s adventure:

1. My phone stopped working two nights ago. It rings once and then Verizon Wireless (or something) ends the call. I was going to take the phone in yesterday morning but didn’t get a chance to because:
2. I fixed Bloody Mary’s and brought them to the living room. Sandy had stepped outside to pluck dead blossoms from the hibiscus plants. I followed her out to take her drink and closed the door behind me. When I heard the click I knew we were in trouble. Sandy sometimes forgets to turn off the lock. I always double check her. Yesterday morning I didn’t. Her phone was inside. I was in my pajamas. No key. Locked out.
3. Our neighbor across the street is out of town. She has no key but would have let us in to use a phone, and Sandy needed a restroom.
4. I texted Robin. She tried to call but of course that didn’t work. I texted that we needed her key. My messages weren’t making sense to her.
5. I texted grandson Kris. At first he didn’t get it either. I had a fine time trying to get through that we were locked out and needed them to bring their key.
6. Sandy and I both tried again to get our garage keypad to work. It hasn’t worked in ages. Still doesn’t.
7. Kris and his dad were out working together. He and Tim went home, got the spare key, and started our way. We didn’t know it yet.
8. Robin finally responded that the guys were on their way just as they walked around the corner with the key.
9. I tried to put the key into the lock on a patio door. The key didn’t work. Sandy insisted that it was the right key. She tried it in every door on the back.
10. I kept saying it was not the right key. Pajama-clad, I took the key around to the front door. It didn’t fit that lock either.
11. Back to the back yard. I sent Jeff a text in Oregon about the keypad to see if he had some ideas.
12. At that moment Sandy walked out onto the patio and waved and laughed.
13. I asked her how the $#^@ she got inside.
14. The front door had been unlocked the whole time. When Sandy went over to feed our neighbor’s cat that morning, she didn’t think to lock the door when she came home.

And that, friends, is how we spent much of our Saturday morning.