Thursday, October 27, 2005

Food and life

**Retrieved from Friendster blog**

Starting last Thursday night, I attended three formal, catered dinners in a row, spanning two coasts: The Guthrie Awards/Huntington's Disease Dinner (in NYC), the SJSU Homecoming Gala and Gold Awards Ceremony (in San Jose, CA), and then Denise and Roy's wedding (in San Francisco, CA).

Aside from adding an inch or two to my waist (great food!), I felt that each event was inspiring in its own way.

The Guthrie Awards, Main course: prime rib and shrimp 
At the first dinner, the 9th Annual Guthrie Awards Dinner, my boss was one of five honorees, along with the Time Warner Book Group. I had attended the dinner three years earlier when Paul Simon was one of the honorees and enjoyed myself, so this year when Megan extended the invitation, I jumped at the chance to support her and see her celebrated, and also to attend a nice event, even though I was to fly out to SF early the next morning.

Megan was being honored for her commitment to publishing books that celebrate the diversity of the world and focus on social issues. It was heartwarming to see that an organization outside of the publishing community looked upon the work we did as being valuable and important.

Megan's speech was well-written, powerful, engrossing, and touching, as she talked about her son Leo and how he was on his way to being a compassionate human being. Listening to her speech also made me think about my own career. When I had first interviewed with Megan over six years ago, I remember being so excited talking to her, because I saw even then her commitment to publishing diverse voices, and that was extremely important to me.

I see children's books as a powerful vehicle for influencing young children, and making a difference in their lives. And even though I'd like to think that the greatest reward for my work is knowing that children are reading and loving the books I'm working on, it was also nice to see that it can be rewarding in a formal, public way as well. And I have to admit, I want to see myself up there giving a speech ten years from now. I want to do great work, and I want to be recognized for it.

The dinner was also inspiring in another way--Nora Guthrie (Woody's daughter) spoke as well, and she was so exuberant and scattered and funny, and her talk left me feeling like I had just been given a pep talk about life. Two things in particular: 1) There is so much more good in the world than bad, it only just doesn't get reported as much, that there is really no reason to be depressed. I have always believed this, but it was nice to be reminded. 2) everyone should try to love as many people in their lives that they can, that at the end of it all, we aren't going to be judged by whether we found a cure for cancer or wrote an award-winning book, but by the number of people we've loved. It was a nice sentiment.

SJSU Homecoming Gala and GOLD Awards Ceremony, Main Course: fish 
The next day I flew out to SFO and then later that day drove down to San Jose State University with my cousins Jeanne and Rich. My sister-in-law Erika was being honored as a Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD). Incredible. When you think of how many people graduate each year, and then multiply that by ten, and also consider that she is a fairly recent graduate (2004), it's an amazing honor. Erika was being recognized for her work as a crisis counselor and client advocate with the YWCA Rape Crisis Center, as co-founder of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, being on the board for the Pro-Choice Coalition of Santa Clara County, and much more. It was great to see her honored and go up on the high stage with her image projected on huge screens. The night was also surreal because Dana Carvey was the entertainment--he was really hilarious, actually, but random. It was quite an enjoyable night. And it made me realize that I need to do more. I'm in a period of my life right now where I'm concerned about having fun, enjoying life. But I know I need to start to focus again on doing good, on accomplishing something worthwhile, helping people.

Denise and Roy’s wedding, Main course: pistachio crusted sea bass 

Dsc04867And then the next day was Denise and Roy's wedding. Denise is a friend from when I lived in Taiwan, and she is also a UC Berkeley grad, although we didn't know each other there. Roy went to my HS, although I didn't know him well. (They were introduced by another mutual friend).

It was an interesting night, because people from different circles had collided--I had friends there from HS, college, Taiwan, and also my parents know Roy's parents, so there were a few of the older generation who I knew as well.

I was feeling a bit down about the wedding at first--my best friend Jen was unable to go at the last minute because she was on-call (med student), so I was without my "date." I was treating James as my pseudo-date, but I knew he was going to leave a bit early. To be perfectly honest, I'm tired of going to weddings alone. Even when I was dating Will, he never traveled with me to weddings of my friends. Being the only single person at my table was tough, even though I had other single friends to hang out with. As usual, I fled to the bathroom during the bouquet toss. I hate that sh*t! But I loved seeing old friends, the alcohol flowed, and in the end I had a ton of fun. And most importantly, it was so wonderful seeing Denise and Roy so happy and in love. I remember it wasn't so long ago that Denise was a somewhat bitter, single, thirtysomething [correction from Denise--"I am the founder of the bitter twenty-something single women group"--her attitude changed when she hit thirty]. There's hope, people!

 This was also the first trip to CA in a while that made me actually want to maybe move back someday. Staying with Jeanne in the Marina was awesome. We walked along the water to the Golden Gate Bridge my first morning there, and I Dsc04881jogged the same path my last morning there. I had fresh, steamed crab at Fisherman's Wharf. Took the BART into Berkeley and walked on campus. Met up with old friends. I could see that being my life. Then again, when I got back from Montreal I wanted to move there, and the same when I got back from London, so who knows. 

Home, Main course: popcorn with rosemary olive oil 
And now I'm back in NYC and am reminded why I love it here so much, despite arriving in the freezing rain yesterday. Today was a beautiful, sunny, cold fall day. I went jogging in Central Park with Rose tonight—I never jog in the dark by myself, so it was a nice treat. I love the city at night—it’s quieter, the lights are beautiful, the city seems cleaner. Sometimes I think I could live here forever. Then again, maybe in a few more years I'll get restless and need to find someplace brand new to explore. I’m open to the possibility. I wonder where life will lead me. I wonder what I'll eat for dinner tomorrow.

 October 27, 2005

Monday, October 17, 2005

My butt hurts.

**Retrieved from Friendster blog**

In my last post, I talked about how learning that something small can potentially open up new worlds…well, I feel the same way about discovering subcultures or groups. The more experiences you have, the richer life is—because worlds you didn’t know existed are revealed, things you didn’t understand become clear. Like the rave culture. The BBQ competition circuit. Poker. Fantasy sports. Publishing. Yoga.

Take joggers for example. Back in high school, I used to see people jogging by the side of the road and think that they were so cool, and wonder how I could be one of them. I thought they had all this inside information or experience that made them joggers. Then in college I started running—and felt awkward at first, thought that people watching me run would know that I wasn’t a *real* jogger. But before long, I was a jogger myself. I was one of them! I felt that way about bikers, too. I saw the people riding on the streets, so comfortable, and was envious. I had a bicycle for a little bit in college, but I never felt comfortable riding on the Berkeley streets. I was never a biker. When I received a bicycle as a gift about 5 years ago, I didn’t use it all that much, because in truth, I was intimidated. I took it on rides with my boyfriend or friends when they went riding, but I would never go by myself, and I knew nothing about bikes.

After we moved to NY, my bike sat chained to our stairwell for 2 ½ years. My boyfriend took it out once, but other than that, the scary NYC streets and the fact that we lived on the fourth floor of a walk-up apartment prevented it from being used.

Now I live in an apartment with an elevator. So when James suggested that we do the Century Bike Tour, I jumped at the opportunity. I hadn’t ridden a bike in four years, but with James’s assurance that it would be doable, I chose to do the 35 mile ride. It was a gorgeous day, and it was a fabulous ride through Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. I loved it. And although I was tired and my butt hurt, I felt like I could have gone farther. And the best thing I gained from it was I got over my fear of riding on the streets of NY. The roads weren’t blocked off for the ride, although for much of the ride I felt safety in numbers. But as the ride stretched out, I just learned how to ride in traffic.

After gushing about the ride to Tanya, she forwarded me an email about the Time Warner Road Inspectors, a team participating in the MS Ride, and I was psyched. Not only would I get to ride again, but I could do it for a good cause. The distance was 30, 60, or 100 miles. James and I debated whether to tackle the 60-mile ride, but though that we’d better stick to 30. But at the pasta dinner with part of the team the night before, we found out that there was a 45-mile shortcut option off of the 60-mile route: perfect.

Left the apartment at 6:15 am, still dark out. Went down 2nd Ave and then cut over to the East River. Saw the sun slowly rising over the water—of course had to stop to take pictures. Got to South Street Seaport, registered, scarfed down a blueberry muffin, lined up at the starting line. Blind Melon’s “No Rain” came on at the start, and I sang along joyfully. The cold, windy, but sunny fall day was a blessing after a week of pouring rain and gray.

The FDR was blocked off for us—so cool. A biker wiped out behind us--scary. Went all the way to the top of Manhattan. Then down the Henry Hudson Parkway—also free and clear of cars. The wind was powerfully strong, and in our face. It felt like we were going uphill even as we went downhill, constantly pushing against the wind. The streets counted down too slowly. We needed to Dsc04679get to the Lincoln Tunnel before they reopened it to traffic at 11 am. Got there with 10 minutes to spare. Riding through the carless Lincoln Tunnel was such a rush, as we swooped in, whooping and screaming, I felt an exhilaration similar to how I felt skydiving.

New Jersey was tough, full of hills, the traffic was no longer blocked off. Passed a biker smoking a cigarette as he biked—and we though the guy looking for a light after biking 15 miles in the Century Tour was crazy! The last hill felt like it was a mile long—had to walk my bike halfway. Onto the George Washington bridge, the water and view spectacular. Dsc04706 

I felt like the worst was over, only to come down off the bridge and realize we were all the way up on 172nd Street. Chelsea Piers was a far far away. The wind was so strong that, at one point, coasting down a slight downward incline, the wind blew so hard that I was literally slowed to a stop and needed to pedal in order to keep moving forward. I was almost blown sideways a few times.

When I thought I couldn’t keep going, I just looked two feet in front of the bike with my head down. It helped.

So, I made it. My butt hurts, my legs burn, but I feel good. I rode a total of about 55 miles, if you count the ride to the starting line and the ride home from Chelsea Piers. Next year, bring on the 60 miles!

Thank you everyone who donated money. There’s still time to donate, so if you’d like to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York City Chapter, go to this link:

So…am I a biker? Not really. Or maybe I am. But at least I have a taste of what it’s like, and I ride the streets of Manhattan without fear, weaving in and out, and maybe a kid seeing me will wonder what it feels like to ride a bike in the city like that.

I'll tell you what it feels like. My as* hurts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Beyond the Yellow Brick Road

**Retrieved from Friendster blog**

For the past month or so, I've been obsessed with the song GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD by Elton John. I always have some song or another stuck in my head, and I have a song for every situation and the annoying habit of actually singing them out loud. But sometimes I get one song stuck in my head fairly consistently for a period of time (and then have the annoying habit of singing that one song out loud incessantly), and lately it's been GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD. It started on a road trip up to Boston one weekend in mid-September. For some reason the song was stuck in my head, and I looked frantically in my iPod for it, sure that I had it in there somewhere, but didn't. Then I was in Finnerty's the following Monday night, and it played on the jukebox. Two days later, it played on my Yahoo station while at work. Stuck in my head again. I decided I had to buy the CD. But then a week or so later I went to Amy's "goodbye and take my stuff" party, and she was giving away tons of CDs, including an old Elton John's Greatest Hits CD that I immediately snatched up, and sure enough, there the song was. I listened to it incessantly for a couple of days, then went up to Boston yet again and complained to my friends that the song had been stuck in my head for days (I wonder why), and then while at brunch in Jamaica Plain on Sunday morning, guess what song comes on yet again...

So, it made me think--was it truly just coincidence that this song kept popping into my life this past month, or is it always popping up, and I've only just recently become conscious of it/ have been looking for it? It reminded me of a moment back in college when I was studying vocab for the GRE, and learned the word "avuncular" for the first time. For those of you who don't know, avuncular means "like an uncle." At the time I thought, god, what a silly word, who would ever use it? And then I heard it used twice that week, once by my professor in a lecture, once on the radio, and I read it in print once as well. In one week. I was amazed. And I've since seen it used quite often (although not as often as that first week), which made me realize that that word has always been out there, I'd just ignored it before because I hadn't known what it meant. And that made me wonder, how much else is out there that I'm simply overlooking or ignoring?

Another example is those "Obey Giant" stickers that are everywhere (you know, those black and white graphic stickers of the face of Andre the Giant, designed by a RISD Before I knew what they were, they were simply just another bit of graffiti to ignore, but now I notice them everywhere.

All of this just reinforces my desire to learn more, be more aware, more observant, experience more, because the more you know (isn't that a Saturday morning cartoon jingle?), the more the layers of life make sense. Maybe you feel like you're just going along, on a plateau, kinda stagnant, but then all of a sudden you learn something that launches you up to the next level. It's exciting, isn't it?
And now, so you can all share in my joy, here are the lyrics to GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD:

When are you gonna come down
When are you going to land
I should have stayed on the farm
I should have listened to my old man

You know you can't hold me forever
I didn't sign up with you
I'm not a present for your friends to open
This boy's too young to be singing the blues

So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough

Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road

What do you think you'll do then
I bet that'll shoot down your plane
It'll take you a couple of vodka and tonics
To set you on your feet again

Maybe you'll get a replacement
There's plenty like me to be found
Mongrels who ain't got a penny
Sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground

-Music by Elton John
-Lyrics by Bernie Taupin

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Flight of the Alvina

Retrieved from Friendster Blog.

Sunday, October 2, 2005:

I woke up to a beautiful day: bright blue sky, not a cloud to be seen, temperature in the upper 70s.

I started off the morning at Peter’s reading of FLIGHT OF THE DODO in Bryant Park. There was a large crowd there of kids and parents, so the "friends of Peter" group staked out the back row. I thought Peter was natural, funny, and a pro, and it was great to hear the book read aloud. I realized that I hadn’t read it in a while, so even though I had once pored over every word, over and over and over, it now (or shall I say still) felt fresh, and I laughed out loud several times. I had the pleasure of meeting Peter’s mother afterwards, and she was sweetly emotional; it made me realize how momentous the occasion was. This was something that Peter had worked a lifetime towards, and finally it was real. He has an actual book published that he wrote and illustrated, and he read it in front of probably over a hundred people in Bryant Park in New York City. Incredible. I can’t imagine what that moment must feel like, nor what it must feel like to be the parent of someone who has realized their dream.

Soon after the reading, I took off on my own momentous trip. Noel, Craig, and I set out in Tanya’s car (thanks, Tanya!) for Gardiner, NY. Destination: Sky Dive the Ranch. The ride up was smooth and fun; as Noel snoozed in the backseat, Craig and I gabbed away. We only took one wrong turn that we corrected immediately. Despite a late start, we arrived at exactly 2 pm, the time of our reservation, and as we pulled up we saw a bunch of colorful parachutes descending from the sky. Beautiful! It was finally starting to feel like it was actually going to happen.

We met Craig’s friend Javier there and were immediately ushered into a training session already in progress. Nothing seemed too difficult, but the training made me a bit anxious. There were actually things to remember: crouch with your feet together at the plane’s open door. Lift your head. Keep your hands on your harness. Arch your back. Check the altimeter. Reach back to check the ripcord. Arms out. Check altimeter every few seconds. Pull ripcord at 6,000 feet. Legs out at landing. Of course, I knew there would be an instructor strapped on my back to make sure nothing went wrong, but I wanted to do it right, dammit!

We had about 40 minutes before we suited up, and during the wait was when I started to feel butterflies for the first time. (I think I was a tiny bit hungover from the parties of the night before, too. I probably shouldn't have helped Eveline sip from her screwdriver while on the subway. ANYway...)

We watched one plane climb impossibly high above us, at times losing sight of it because it was so tiny; then we marveled as the parachutes seemingly popped up out of nowhere--they were so high up, we couldn't see the people falling until the chutes opened. "I hope I get a pretty color" I joked. Then later: "What color is your parachute?" har har.

All off a sudden, we were on deck. Tried to find jumpsuits in our sizes to no avail, and then the woman helping us said we could just go in our regular clothes, that the suits weren't necessary--they were just to keep you warm, and also to prevent your clothes from getting dirty during the landing, since we were to land on our butts. But so many of the jumpsuits had their butt area worn through, anyway, so they wouldn't have helped much. So in my jeans and halter top, I got into my harness, tried on my helmets, met my instructor and videographer (Stan and Zak), and then we were off to get on the plane. "Remember to breathe up there," Stan told me at one point. After which I discovered that I had forgotten how to breathe. In, out, in, out.

Stan and I were the first to load the plane. I straddled the bench and sat between Stan's legs, Zak sitting between my legs, Noel's instructor between his, and so on. Craig was right next to me on the other bench, Javier in front of him. Part of the way up Craig's instructor asked Craig and me who should jump first. So the two of us played rock paper scissors; Craig won and decided to jump last. The two veterans (this was Noel's second jump, Javier's third) were first on deck. I watched my altimeter climb. Put my helmet and goggles on at 9,000 feet. Climbed up to 12,000 feet. And before I knew it, I saw Noel in his bright yellow T-shirt standing at the open door of the plane; suddenly, he plummeted out of sight. Wow--so fast! Then Javier also tumbled out of sight--his fall seemed different from Noel's fall, and I remembered that he had asked during training if they were allowed to do flips as they left the plane. The instructor had said no, but perhaps his tandem instructor agreed to give him a ride.

Then it was my turn. With Stan on my back, we waddled to the door. I couldn't stop smiling, but the cold air was making my teeth cold. It was so surreal, the ground incredibly far below. We crept to the ledge, Zak hanging outside of the door with the camera. I looked down. Whoa. He reached his hand under my chin and tilted my head up. Right. Keep my head up. I think Stan must have counted off, and before I knew it I was falling falling falling. Plummeting.

 I kept telling myself to pay attention, enjoy it. Everyone told me this part went by too quickly. I remembered to check my altimeter and do the ripcord check, but although I looked at the altimeter, I had no comprehension of what it said, and I had no idea if I felt the cord. I think I looked at the altimeter several times during the fall, but am sure I never actually read it. Mostly what I remember is the rushing of air, the whooshing noise, the slight sensation of my ears plugging up, and the ground so far away, everything having the vague feeling of grayness and blur and speed.

But mostly I remember the rushing wind, loud and strong. It didn't feel real. I kept just trying to look around, to see everything, and think I may have mouthed "it's so beautiful" several times. Not sure.

Before I knew it, Stan was grabbing my hand and pulling it back to pull the ripcord, although I'm sure he was the one to do the ripping. The rushing sounds changed, I felt myself being pulled up, heard the sound of the wind catch the parachute, and all of a sudden had the sensation that we had simply stopped, that everything had stopped. Now the world was colorful and calm and quiet. Beautiful. I think I said something like, "Whoa" and Stan laughed.

He taught me how to control the fall, to turn left and right and spin. We did a few spins to the right, then the left, and it only made me slightly dizzy. Then he let me control the parachute. The landscape was beautiful. Mountains, lakes, lots of green and trees. And so peaceful. It was too hazy to see Manhattan, though. I turned the parachute lazily right and left. Fun.

We floated down, came in for a perfect landing, me flat on my ass, both of us laughing. Wow. It was over. We all watched our videos. I was the only one who jumped without sleeves, and my arms looked incredibly weird. The skin flapped and moved like liquid, you could see the outline of my bones. So strange. But I was smiling. It still doesn't feel quite real. Totally surreal. And although I'm happy I did it and would totally do it again--maybe in 5 years--it wasn't a life-changing experience. I guess I'm a little disappointed about that. But I think it's because I was never truly scared, never really thought I'd die. I mean, of course it occurred to me that I might die (especially since we had to sign a waiver that probably said over 25 times, "You may die"), but no more so than every time I ride in a plane. I'm sure bungee jumping is much scarier. You're so much closer to the ground. Maybe I should do that next... 

So I'm excited to now be able to cross skydiving off my list of things to do before I die, and to add something new. The fun part now is deciding what will replace it. Any suggestions?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

What's brown and sticky?

**Retrieved from Friendster blog**

What's brown and sticky? 

(answer at the end of the post)

First of all, if you're tired of getting an email from friendster every time I update this, you can change your notification preferences on friendster. Just thought I'd let you know.

Okay, so I just realized that I can use this blog to talk about BOOKS! What a novel idea. Get it? Novel? heh heh.

So, every book I've edited or worked on or acquired has a story behind how it was acquired. Today I will tell you the story of FLIGHT OF THE DODO by Peter Brown (who is actually a friendster). Peter and Tracy, if you' re reading this, I hope you don't mind that I'm telling this story.

A few months after I was relocated to NYC from Boston with the rest of the Little, Brown children's division (2002), I attended an illustrator event somewhere downtown. Since I was still relatively new to NY, I don't remember where I was or who sponsored the party--all I know is that there was free food and drink, and there were lots of illustrators around. Most of the people there seemed to be editorial illustrators and not children's book illustrators, but as I was mainly just hanging out in my group of coworkers I had come with, eating the free food and drinking the free wine, it didn't really matter to me. Tracy was single at the time, and was excited to meet a cute, eligible illustrator, so we were helping her scope out guys. Towards the end of the night when we were about to give up, she noticed a cute guy up on the balcony. He eventually must have felt 5+ pairs of eyes on him, because he looked in our direction, and Tracy boldly gestured him to come down. He disappeared from view and we weren't sure if he was coming down or not, but a few minutes later I saw him heading our way. "Hello, ladies" he said suavely. We laughed and all introduced ourselves. His name was Peter. We asked him what he did. "I'm a children's book illustrator," he said. We all exclaimed excitedly and told him we worked in children's book publishing. We talked some more, and then I gave him my business card after writing Tracy's email address on the back (it was clear that he was attracted to her, too).

The following Monday Peter emailed Tracy and they set up a date for him to show her his portfolio (does that sound dirty?). I remember standing at Tracy's cubicle before the date and saying, "Geez, I hope his work doesn't suck. That would be awkward."

The next day Tracy showed me his portfolio, and I was floored. His art style was beautiful, unique, incredible. I loved it. I brought his portfolio to an editorial meeting and everyone agreed that he was hugely talented. Tracy and Peter went out on a few more dates, and one night he came out with a group of us for drinks, and I asked him if he had any story ideas. He told me he had one about a penguin who builds a flying machine.

Around that time, my friend Grace's book OLVINA FLIES (named after me) had either just come out or was about to come out--her book is about a chicken who ends up having to ride in an airplane and is embarrassed. So I had flightless birds on my mind, and I loved Peter's idea. I liked it even more when he told me that the book starts out with Penguin getting pooped on. I mean, how genius is that?!? A flightless bird get pooped on by a flying bird. Incredible. So I told him I was really excited about the idea and would love to work with him on it.

He submitted it to me, and we went back and forth countless times doing different rounds of edits. During this time, he and Tracy stopped dating, but I kept in touch with him and worked on the book. A whole year after we had first met, I decided (at his agent's urging) that it was ready to bring to our acquisitions meeting.

Our acquisitions meeting is very formal, with all of the "bigwigs" present to decide if we want to publish a book--our publisher, editor-in-chief, sales director, marketing director, etc. It's always nerve-wracking to present at this meeting, especially if you care so much about the outcome as I did with Peter's book. I started my presentation when all of a sudden the lights in the conference room dimmed. I paused, and they went back on. So I continued, and the lights flickered again. This went on a few more times and then the lights went out completely. The room had a window so we could still see, but we could also see that the lights in the building next door were also out. Incredibly, our publisher told me to keep going, so I did. It was incredibly distracting, committee members kept getting up to call their departments or loved ones. Someone passed by to tell us that the lights were out all over Manhattan. And still the publisher told me to continue. Under these conditions, we managed to make the decision that although everyone loved the art and the story concept, we weren't yet ready to offer a contract because the manuscript still wasn't in publishable shape. But they didn't want to lose the project and so I was told to bring it back in a few months. As for the you may have guessed, this turned out to be the 2003 Blackout!

Peter and I worked more on the book, and after a few months I was finally able to offer Peter his very first book contract. Now, FLIGHT OF THE DODO is finally out and we're excited to share it with the world. Today, October 1, is technically its official publication date, but it's actually been in most stores for a few weeks now. It should be at a B&N or Borders or independent bookstore near you, and at the very least you can find it on Amazon:

So go out and buy it now!

For those of you in the NYC area, Peter is doing a reading in Bryant Park tomorrow (Sunday, October 2) at 10:25 am. He'll be at the Target Children's Stage of the New York Times Great Read in the Park festival. I'll be there, right before going skydiving, so come on out!

Oh, and, Peter and Tracy are dating again. In fact, she designed FLIGHT OF THE DODO and Peter dedicated it to the both of us "To Alvina and Tracy, two of my favorite birds." Peter Brown went to one party, got free food and drink, AND a girlfriend and book contract. How cool is that.

And what's brown and sticky?

A stick!