How the grinch stole Halloween

October 30th, 2011

I have a confession to make.

Halloween is my least favorite holiday of the year.

I can’t help it — I just don’t enjoy dressing up.  The last time I had fun on Halloween was when I was in elementary school.  My mother sewed black velvet cat ears onto a headband for me, and I went dressed as Catwoman.  That costume made me insanely happy, and I wore it as often as I could until I outgrew it.

I don’t like scary stuff, either.  No horror movies for me, no spook houses, not even a corn maze.  Yep, I’m definitely a Halloween grinch!

How about you?  Do you like Halloween?  If you do, what will you go dressed as this year?

Thank you, Texas!

October 29th, 2011

I love the Lone Star State!

It was a whirlwind trip, but I had a great time.  The day I arrived in Houston I got to visit with fans at the fabulous Blue Willow Bookshop:

And hang out with equally fabulous bookseller Cathy Berner:

Cathy took me to Rogers Middle School in Pearland, where I visited with the 5th and 6th graders.  Afterwards, I was interviewed by some of the students.  They asked great questions and were totally professional, just like a real news crew!

I also got to hang out with librarian Sherri Bell.   Look how cute and teeny she is next to me!  I’m a giantess!

Cathy and I also visited Memorial Parkway Junior High in Katy, where I got to hang out with another librarian, the totally hip Ellen Barnes:

Now I don’t feel like such a giantess.

See that piece of paper I’m holding?   Ellen is so hip, she made a QR (Quick Response) code for the flyer advertising my visit.  If you hold your cell phone over it, it takes you to my website.  How cool is that?

After Houston I flew to Austin for the Texas Book Festival, which totally rocked!  It’s an amazing event, with so many authors and panels and signings and parties it made my head spin.  In fact, it made my head spin so much that I forgot to take pictures!  Except this one:

That’s me with a new friend at a party.  Who wouldn’t want such an amazing piece of artwork in the entryway to their home?  I sure would.  In fact, if I could have fit it in my purse, I would have been sorely tempted to sneak off with it…

During the festival, I was on a panel with Nancy Tillman, whom I’d never met even though she lives right here in Portland.  We had to go to Texas to get to know each other!  Now I’m in love with her books — they’re gorgeous!

In Austin, I also met up with an old college friend, and the two of us went to dinner at Sandra Bullock’s fabulous restaurant, Bess Bistro:

No sign of Sandra, just tons of great food!

From Austin I flew on to Dallas, where I spent two wonderful days hanging out with Kristine Abramowitz from The Story Book House.  She has two boys, too, so we had lots to talk about.  Kristine took me to visit a couple of schools, including Timbercreek Elementary in Flower Mound.  I was surprised to see this when we drove up:

Talk about making me feel special!  If you look closely at the sign, you’ll see a little mouse hidden in my name.  There were mice hidden all over the school that day, in honor of my SPY MICE books.  In fact, a lot of the staff and students came dressed as spies!  Here I am with school principal Vickie Abshier, librarian Terri Halloran, and Charlene Matthews of the PTA (and yes, I know I’m wearing the same purple shirt — it’s my favorite piece of clothing at the moment):

Are these fabulous ladies fun-loving or what? In fact, that pretty much sums up Texas — fun-loving and fabulous!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know you’re in Texas when … (cont’d)

October 29th, 2011

You see a bench like this in your hotel lobby:

Aren’t those framed arrowheads on the wall above it cool?

And in another hotel lobby, I spotted the last letter sent from the Alamo in 1836:

It was on the wall outside the men’s room.  Kind of an embarrassing place to stand with a camera, but I’ll do anything if it involves history.  I can’t help it.  I’m a nerd that way!

Another sure sign of Texas is this gorgeous blooming sage:

And finally, what other state serves the world’s best BBQ at the airport?!

Yum!  Thank you, Salt Lick!

 

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