Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Blogiversary fellow bloggers and blog readers!

I woke up this morning to an NPR story about blogs, which reminded me that it was my day to post. According to a Wall Street Journal article"Happy Blogiversary" that was reported back in July, one of, if not the first blog was Robot Wisdom.

On Dec. 23, 1997, on his site, Robot Wisdom, Mr. Barger wrote: "I decided to start my own webpage logging the best stuff I find as I surf, on a daily basis," and the Oxford English Dictionary regards this as the primordial root of the word "weblog."

Other early blogs were CamWorld and Scripting News. It's incredible that these blogs are celebrating their 10-year anniversaries this year--I wonder who among us will still be blogging 5 or 10 years from now. Will I?

The page also has a little chart about who blogs and why people blog. I'd say the reasons why I blog are pretty much in line with the reasons why most people blog.


The above is partially re-posted from the Blue Rose Girls blog. I asked over there, and I'll ask here. In the spirit of the long life of blogs, is there anything more/less/different you'd like to see with my blog?


A few other Random things for this blog on this Christmas Eve morning. The first is a game my brother Felix introduced us to last night. It seems simple, almost stupid, yet it's oddly mesmerizing and addictive. The game is here. The goal is the trap the kitty, keeping him from escaping off the board.


And then two videos. These have been around a while, but I just saw them around Thanksgiving and meant to share them earlier. First, Daft Bodies:

And then Daft Hands (this one came first):


Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure End of Auction Party

December 7, 2007: An animoto video from the end-of-auction party a Grace's condo. Much laughter, food eating, and wii playing was had.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Travel Woes

A few weeks ago I attended the Big Sur Children's Writer's Workshop as faculty (read about my experience over at the Blue Rose Girls). Julie and I were on the faculty, and had reserved the same red eye flight to JFK from San Jose, CA. I had rented a car, and the drive back started out drizzly, resulting in a gorgeous rainbow over Highway One. We had all afternoon to relax before our 10:30 pm flight, and so stopped in Carmel for some shopping. While shopping, I missed a call from an area code I didn't recognize. A half hour later, the same number called: it was Jet Blue, informing me that our flight had been cancelled due to weather. Great. There were no other flights out of San Jose that night. Julie needed to get back to her son, so I asked about San Francisco or Oakland flights. All direct flights were sold out, but there was a flight from SFO to Boston to JFK available, so we booked it. As soon as I hung up I remembered that my rental car needed to be returned to San Jose. No problem, right? I called to change the drop-off location to SFO, but discovered that the change would have added more than $250 to the overall cost, more than twice the original cost, so I declined. I thought about what to do. Take a cab from San Jose to San Francisco?

I had a stroke of genius and called my brother, Felix, who lives in Sunnyvale, about 15-20 minutes from the airport. He came to our rescue and agreed to pick us up at the San Jose airport and drive us to SFO. Hurray! I guess that's what family is for.

The drive up only took a half hour. As we looked for the ticket counter in San Francisco, Julie commented that she felt like we were on Amazing Race. So true, so funny.

We had a two-and-a-half hour layover in Boston in the early morning. We got coffee and breakfast, I nodded off while Julie edited a super-exciting manuscript from a super-famous author. When we finally boarded the plane, Julie said, "I hope 2+ hours was enough time for our luggage to make it on board." I laughed at the time.

We waiting for our luggage in JFK, and Julie's came first. We said goodbye, as her car was waiting, as was her 2-year-old son. I waited for my bag to appear...and waited...and waited. Doom descended.

I finally went into the luggage office and they determined that my bag was still in Boston, but on its way. They gave me a travel voucher for my trouble, and said it would be delivered that afternoon or evening.

I realized that I had stupidly packed my apt keys in my luggage.

I called/texted my roommates, and luckily one of them answered and said I could swing by her office to borrow her keys.

Sitting in traffic on 6th Ave was the worst. So close, but yet so far.

My luggage didn't show up that evening. After calling 4 times, having messages gone unanswered, being told that I would get called back right away, being transferred to countless people, they finally located my bag in Pennsylvania. At 11 pm I got a call that it was finally in the office at JFK, and it's finally delivered the next morning.


The weekend after, I was in Boston for the Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure end-of-auction party, and then drove down to Providence for the RISD Holiday Sale. A bunch of us got dinner together, and we realized we were missing the 7:20 pm train to NY. The next train wasn't till 10:30. After checking out the bus schedule with no luck, we got to the train station around 8:30 and played the waiting game again.


My trip home to CA for the Christmas break wasn't quite as exciting as last year. In fact, it was almost the complete opposite. I was prepared. I took a bus from Grand Central. I wasn't checking any luggage. The airport wasn't crowded at all. Took my time, got something to eat, read and napped... and then heard an announcement. Something about a replacement plane...

My 6:45 flight was now an 11:15 pm flight.


It could have been worse. It could have been cancelled completely. It could have been worse.

It's funny, because I'm always wishing for more time to read, but when it's forced upon me, I just don't feel like it.

I had two meals while sitting there in the terminal.

There were so many little kids running around, a sight which may have filled many people with dread (kids in terminal=crying kids on plane), but not me. They were adorable.

My poor parents had to pick me up at LAX at 3 in the morning. I went to bed at 4 am, knowing that it was 7 am in NY and most people were waking up and starting their days.

But the good in all of this is hey, I'm on vacation again! Am off till January 2nd. The offices are closed till then, too, so no worries about work and emails piling up. Blissful.

I partially moved into a new office yesterday--I was promoted to Senior Editor (mentioned this at the end of my Monday post on the BRG blog), and with the new title comes a new office. Hurray! Boxes await unpacking when I get back, but it will be nice to start the new year with a new office and more room to organize properly. Pictures to come as soon as I take them.

I'm hoping my travel woes won't continue when I head to Beijing and Shanghai in mid-January. I'm looking forward to that trip, but truthfully, I'm also tired of traveling. But that's nothing that a few weeks of staying home won't cure.

Merry Christmas to those that celebrate it, and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 07, 2007

One day more!

Today is the last day of the Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure auction! Seriously, there are still some steals. I won a few snowflakes in the first two auctions (at quite a good price, which to be honest is a bit of a disappointment--I wanted the costs to be higher).

So, go bid now--the bids close at 5 pm EST. Don't miss your chance to get a piece of original art from a great children's book author! Plus, your bid is tax deductable.

I'm heading up to Boston this morning to celebrate the end of the auctions with Grace and Co. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I can't see how this is right

cash advance

Get a Cash Advance

But cool.

Thanks to Fuse #8 and Brooklyn Arden for the link.

I'm on VACATION!!!! Wonderful, delicious, lounging about and reading and watching tv and surfing the internet to my heart's content VACATION.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Will it ever stop? and Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been wanting to try to simplify my life, but I guess it's not in my nature. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed again at work--all of the Fall 08 novels have safely made it into copyediting, more or less on time, but because I put everything else on hold during pretty much the entire month of October, I'm once again playing catchup, missing emails, buried in reading. If you sent me an email in October or late September and never received a response, please email me again, as most likely the email was deleted by the system before I could respond. I tried to catch them before that happened, but no doubt a few fell through the cracks.

I know I've been tired and hectic at work when I'm unable to muster going out on a Friday night. Lately, I'll I've had energy for is to maybe have a few drinks after work, and then I'm home by 9 or earlier, fast asleep by 10 pm.

I have managed to have some fun, though, of course. I went with some girl friends to see the Pan Asian Repertory Theater revival of The Joy Luck Club. Now, the movie adaptation is probably the movie that made me cry the hardest and the most. And so I braced myself during the play for tears, but they never came. There were some poignant moments, but not enough to make me cry. But I still enjoyed it overall. I think it's a tough book to adapt into a play, but they did a good job, and I thought overall it was very well-acted. It was nice to see older Asian actors up there. There was one white male cast member, and after the play we giggled about how he played both one character's father and husband.

Just a week earlier I saw Pygmalian on Broadway. My friend had scored us some free tickets, so I went, not knowing much about the play except that Claire Danes was in it (I love her from My So-Called Life). I skimmed the New York Times review beforehand, but didn't read it in detail because I don't like to be skewed by reviews, but I knew the review overall was mediocre. But personally, I thought the play was lovely. I knew that My Fair Lady had been adapted from it, but didn't realize how closely, down to the names of the characters. I was tempted several times to burst out in song. "I could have danced all night..." and wondered if the cast would have sung along with me. Some of the "speeches" and scenes went on for too long, but overall I found it to be humorous, well-acted, and wonderful to watch. The set was fantastic. I couldn't get over how it actually rained on stage at the beginning. How did they do that?

I also saw the movie Dan in Real Life on Halloween. Not a very Halloweeny thing to do, but fun nonetheless. I enjoyed the movie--I knew almost nothing about it going in, and so therefore had no expectations. It wasn't a true comedy--more of a family drama, similar to The Family Stone. But I found it well-acted and poignant. My friends and I especially liked the last line of the movie: expect to be surprised.

And now it's past Thanksgiving and I'm in CA at my parents' home. I had written most of the above about a month ago, but never posted it. I still hope to write about the NYC marathon, too (I didn't run it this year...well, not officially). I'm still trying to figure out how to simplify my life. I've been enjoying these past few days of vacation, the slow, fairly unplanned days, the time to go for a run, play tennis, play games, watch movies, get a facial, a haircut, visit with friends and family, and read. I'm actually reading an adult book for pleasure (I just realized that with the italics for emphasis, and if you didn't know I worked in children's books and assumed a different meaning for "adult," that sentence may be interpreted the wrong way). And sure, I'm reading a submission as well, but it's on my fancy new Sony Reader which is making it fun (my company is doing a trial for these Readers to see if they can help us save paper and money in the long-term, and I'm loving it so far. So many agents are submitting electronically now--it saves time, for sure, but on our end, we've been printing hard copies of the manuscript out, which is such a huge waste).

At any rate, I'm still on vacation next week and am going to ENJOY IT, dammit. And then on Friday I'm off to the Big Sur Children's Writing Workshop. Even though I've lived in the Bay Area before, I've never actually been to Big Sur, and am excited. Anyone else going?

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure

It's been a while, sorry! So much going on, I hope I'll be able to post more when I'm in CA over Thanksgiving.

But for now, I wanted to make sure everyone was aware that the Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure fundraiser has officially begun. Auction one of three began this morning, so go and BID! Even if you don't think you'll be able to win, please bid anyway, because of course the goal of all of this is to raise as much money as possible for cancer research.

Please spread the word! And thank you to everyone who helped spread the news about the auction far and wide, especially Eisha and Jules over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. It has been truly amazing and heartwarming to see the kidlit community come together over this event.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Are you right brain or left brain?

You may have seen this before, but my friend Heather sent this along. Check out this link here and let me know if you see the girl rotating clockwise or counterclockwise.

At first all I could see was her turning clockwise, which I guess means I use more of my right brain. This was interesting for me to know, because I never thought of myself as particularly a right brain thinker. But I guess if some of the qualities of a right-brain thinker include "big picture oriented," "can 'get it' (i.e. meaning)," "presents possibilities," and "risk taking," then it makes sense. (Although of course I associate with many of the left-brain qualities, too! Like "words and language," "acknowledges," "forms strategies," and "practical.")

I wasn't able to get her to switch directions until Heather suggested looking unfocused at her feet, and then she switched. So weird! Some of my friends were convinced that it was some technical trick, but yet when we looked at the same screen at the same time, I would see her turning clockwise, while another person would see her continually switching. I'm baffled as to how it works.

So, which part of your brain do you use the most?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Okay, I just had to post it

The Red Sox are in the World Series!!

For a while, I thought that maybe I had jinxed them (typical sports fan reasoning), because I couldn't find another picture of me in my Red Sox hat. So I cheated--this one was taken yesterday as I walked all around Manhattan in my hat (I walked from the Upper East Side to the East Village--a good three miles--and then from there all the way west--11th Street--in Hell's Kitchen). It was such a gorgeous day.

I promise...I'll have a real post one of these days. In the meantime, check out my post over at the Blue Rose Girls on Peter Brown and his fabulously bouncy, exciting, pretty good week.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What I'm working on now--another sneak peak.

I just posted over at the Blue Rose Girls about what I'm working on now, plus I also highlighted a few of the books I've worked on that are available this fall. Check it out here.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Red Sox win again!

Red Sox won last night! I don't know why, but I'm getting a kick out of finding old pics of me wearing a Red Sox hat. Coincidentally, this one is also an icy setting--this is from my family reunion a few years ago to the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I'm on the Columbia Ice Field.

I was originally planning to go to the Rutgers One-on-one conference today, but am attending a former colleague's wedding in the Poconos instead. This has been an unbelievably hectic week, and I don't see it letting up until two weeks from now at the soonest. I'm trying to get my four novels on the Fall 2008 list into copyediting in the next two weeks. They're getting the meantime, a lot of my other work/emails/reading has been put on hold. Bear with me, please!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Go Red Sox!

Yankees are out. Too bad.


P.S. This is a picture taken at Kindling Words in 2005, I'm sitting on a frozen Lake George. I won't be attending Kindling Words next January, unfortunately--I had been four years in a row and love it! But I'll be going to China (exciting!) for ten days in January and just couldn't swing it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Blue Rose Girls starting back up this week

We're resuming our regular posting over at the Blue Rose Girls blog today. I posted about the Carle Honors dinner I attended last Tuesday.

As for this blog, I'll try to post soon...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

UN for Taiwan!

Last Saturday, September 15, hundred of thousands of people rallied around the world to support Taiwan's bid for UN membership. I participated in the peace rally in NYC across from the UN (although I wasn't able to stay for the march).

There were a lot of people there despite the early hour and threatening rain. Everyone was festive and friendly, excited. The speakers energized the crowd--it was hard to judge how many people were there, but I'd guess 500-1,000, some of them having traveled from far and wide, some caravaning together on buses, to be there. There was even a performance of John Lennon's Imagine. I wore my "Dai wan lang" (Taiwanese) T-shirt, waved green flags, and chanted "UN for Taiwan! UN for Taiwan!"I'm not an overly political person (although I of course do have certain strong beliefs), but I do think that Taiwan is rightfully an independent, sovereign country--it's a democracy, has it's own president and political system, and is so separate from China in almost every way. Unfortunately, the UN rejected the membership bid. I don't know when/if Taiwan will ever win their bid, but I know they will keep trying, and I applaud everyone's efforts.

You can read more about the rally and the politics behind it here and here.

UN for Taiwan!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

100 Words a Day

My roommate Rose has been contributing to the blog 100 Words a Day. Check it out here. It's a cool idea and an interesting exercise; I think 100 words can sometimes last forever, and sometimes seem way too short. At any rate, I decided to make this post exactly 100 words to see how it feels. A bit weird, to be honest. Each word feels at risk of being wasted, but also feels worth something more.

I've been thinking about trying something new every day. This is one of my new things for today. My very first 100 word post.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Poems for Grace and Robert

Elaine has recently posted two lovely poems on Wild Rose Reader for Grace and Robert that really touched me. Read them here and here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New beginnings

It's been a roller coaster few weeks for sure, going from sadness to happiness, mourning to celebration and back again. To highlight the celebration, I thought I'd share my video from my cousin Jason's wedding to Jen in NYC, including a few pics from the after-party and after-wedding picnic in Central Park. It was a beautiful, personal, flat-out fabulously fun wedding. I wish them all the happiness in the world.

Monday, September 03, 2007

In Memory of Robert Salvatore Mercer

In case you haven't yet heard the sad news that we posted over at Blue Rose Girls last week, Grace Lin's husband Robert passed away last Monday:
Our dearly beloved Robert passed away on Monday, August 27, 2007 at the age of 35. Robert, with his great passion for life, accomplished many dreams. With a Bachelor in Architecture degree from Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Architecture degree in Urban Design from Harvard University, he led a successful career including work with world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. He was a remarkable man who battled Ewings Sarcoma Cancer for over five years with strength, spirit, and determination. After being diagnosed, Robert and his wife founded Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure, which to date has raised more than $200,000 for cancer research.

Robert was blessed with wonderful parents, Anna Valente and Edward Mercer, a loving wife and soulmate Grace Lin, his sister Alison (husband Garry Butler), his brothers Tam and Greg, and an adoring grandmother Angela Rossi Valente. Robert will be lovingly remembered by his aunt Vicki and uncle Tony Valente, his cousins Michael (wife Lori Martins) and Lisa, the Lin family, as well as his many relatives and friends. We wish to celebrate Robert’s life; we welcome all those friends and loved ones who want to celebrate with us.

Visitation at:
Centre funéraire Côte-des-Neiges
4525 Côte-des-Neiges road, Montréal
(514) 342-8000
on Thursday, September 6, 2007 from 4 to 9 p.m. and on Friday, September 7, 2007 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. followed by a religious ceremony in the chapel of the funeral home at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, we would ask that you make a donation, in Robert’s name, towards Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund
Attn: Lauren Nash, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445-7226. Please make checks out to "Robert's Snow." If you make an online donation, mark it in memory of Robert Mercer and note "Robert's Snow" in the note section.

Please also support Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure this Fall.

I was roommates with Grace when she and Robert started dating. He hung out at our apartment a lot, making fun of how much candy we all ate. He never tired of laughing at my I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray butter that I would squirt onto my popcorn; I liked to make fun of his love for his car. He loved hearing the juicy details of my dating life. I liked asking him for music recommendations. We saw a few movies together, especially since Grace wasn't a huge movie fan. I remember all of us going to concerts together, going dancing, fruit picking, and lots of lots of eating out, especially Ethiopian food at Addis Red Sea. Grace and Robert's rainy wedding day, their last day in Boston, having them over at my parent's house in CA for Thanksgiving during their brief stint in LA, when my mother made me sing "This Land is Your Land" in front of all of their guests.

The other day I was sorting through old cards and letters and came across a card Grace and Robert had given to me on my 25th birthday. I thought Robert's note perfectly captured his personality:

"You're old now, but at least you're still good looking."

That was Robert to a T. We will all miss him dearly.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Happy Anniversary to me

Today is my eight-year anniversary of working at my company. It's been an amazing, rewarding eight years. I remember my interview and first days at my job. I remember setting my goal of becoming an editor, and the moment I achieved my goal. I remember my first acquisition, my last acquisition (yesterday!), my first office, my first time interviewing for an intern, for an assistant, my first agent lunch, my first auction book, my first performance review.

I can't say I've loved every second of it, but I can say that I'm extremely happy with where I am, am constantly challenged and inspired, and I still absolutely love my job. None of my firsts feel that long ago, so it's hard to believe it's been eight years. I remember when I first started and heard that some of the other assistants had been there two years; it seemed like an incredibly long time to me. But as well as things have been going, I would be extremely happy to be at my company for another eight years. I know I'm always rah rah rah when I talk about my job (even when I'm talking about the things I hate), but for me, an anniversary is an opportunity to look back and where I came from and where I am now, and I am happy.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

NYC half-marathon, take two

I ran the NYC Half Marathon this morning. All week I was a little nervous about the weather--it's been incredibly hot, stuffy, and humid in New York, and although I knew the race started early (7 am) I was still worried about the race conditions. But it turned out to be a beautiful morning for running. A little hot, sure, but overall just gorgeous.

My realistic goal was to beat last year's time of 10 minute 23 second miles, and my outside goal was to average under 10-minute miles. The results have just been posted, and I averaged 9 minute 31 second miles! Almost a whole minute better than last year. This despite getting most of my carbs this weekend via beer.

Rose and I started the race together as we did last year, but lost each other after the first mile. I felt pretty good in the Park, familiar territory.

Early on I run behind a guy in a bright blue Speedo, knee-high red and white socks, bright blue running shoes, and nothing else. "Full Moon Rising" and "" were written on his back in big black letters. He was holding a copy of his book. I see him all throughout the race and at the finish line. Pretty memorable publicity campaign. Also ran behind a tall man in a turban with a T-shirt stating "Proud to be Sikh." Two girls with bunny ears. "Good job, bunnies!" a woman cheered.

After one lap around, maybe mile 6 or 7, all of a sudden I look down to my right and see this big dog (I think a rottweiler) rotting trotting happily next to me. He's going at my exact same pace, and so we run together for a few minutes. He's slobbering everywhere, but I'm so delighted and charmed that I don't mind. But after a few minutes he gallops ahead. I don't know who his owner was. After he left, the guy next to me looks over and says, "That was the coolest thing ever!" and I agree.

The moment we exit the Park on 7th Avenue, heading down toward Times Square, is one of my favorite things about this race. Crowds are cheering, and it reminds me of running the marathon. Makes me want to run it again. Towards 42nd Street there's a double-decker bus with a band playing Greenday's "When I come around" and I can't help but sing along. After the race, Rose tells me that as she passed, they were singing "Eye of the Tiger."

Last year, I remember having trouble on 42nd Street heading towards the West Side Highway, but this year I'm feeling good and keeping up my pace. It's not until after mile 10 that I start to struggle a little. I realize that I hadn't run more than 10 miles since the marathon in November, about 9 months ago. But then again, I know that I've done it before, so I keep going. At this point, I know I'm going to make my goal, so even though I drop my pace down to 10-minute miles, I'm happy.

Sad/scary moment: around mile 11 I see up ahead a runner down, lying on his/her back with three people huddled around. As I got closer I saw them tapping his/her chest, and a woman runner stopped and said she was nurse and if they needed help. Looked to my left and saw that we were right across from Ground Zero. Two police officers head toward them. I hope all turned out okay...

At 200 meters to go, I pick up the pace, and with the finish line in sight, I start sprinting. Reminder to self for last year--start sprinting sooner. I still had some gas to spare at the end.

Rose and I celebrated the race with a few friends this afternoon with bagels and mimosas on the terrace. Fantastically beautiful day, clear blue sky, nice breeze to cool things off, 6 different kinds of cream cheese.

I just woke up from a short nap. Luxuriating in a free evening to relax.

This was another full weekend. Caught up on Entourage and Flight of the Conchords (I love those shows!) on demand. Housewarming party in Soho Friday night with some of the Randoms. Spent yesterday afternoon/evening in Astoria saying goodbye to some good friends who will be moving away to Australia soon. So sad. But we had a nice time at the Bohemian Beer Garden. Played with baby Ali who liked to wander the grounds, making new friends. Two friends from Boston who moved away from NYC a few months ago came down for the goodbye party and stayed with me. Please, nobody else move away! I can't take it! But that's NY for you, I suppose. Such a transitory city. I should get used to it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fireflies and bats

I usually prefer to run in the morning, when I'm fresh and everything's quiet and new. I like to start of my day with exercise, and then feel good about it for the rest of the day. But lately I've been running more often in the evening. Tonight, the sky was a soft pink and purple, the clouds that had been threatening rain now glowing with the light of the setting sun. And what I love about running in Central Park at twilight is that when the sun starts to set, the fireflies come out.

Fireflies remind me so much of my suburban childhood, living in the northeast, running around in the backyard with the neighborhood kids while our parents sat in lounge chairs closer to the house. We'd catch fireflies in our hands, open the palms a crack and peek in, hoping that the firefly would light up, but knowing that it wouldn't. Noting how odd it was that such an ugly bug could make such a magical light.

I didn't see fireflies anymore after we moved to California--I suppose because of the climate. I didn't see them again until five years ago, my first summer of living in NY (never noticed them in Boston, for some reason). I was on the West side, heading home after watching a friend's softball match. They were out like crazy in Riverside Park. Sparkling, almost like Christmas lights. They were there on my walk home through Central Park. So beautiful.

The bats also come out at night. This reminds me of one night while living in Taiwan, standing across from Da An Gong Yuan (Big Peace Park) at twilight. One of my friends looked up into the streetlight. "I love watching the bats," he said. "The what?!" I had never noticed any bats. I looked to where he pointed, at what I had always thought were birds flying, but sure enough, they had the erratic flight of bats. Kind of creepy, really, but also cool. Observing nature in the city.

Bats fly jerkily in the lamplights of Central Park, too. I wonder if any of the bugs they're catching are fireflies.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Party pics from my rooftop birthday party

I made this using my cousin's new site, It's in beta testing right now, so not open to the public, but I think it's launching on August 14th. It's really cool!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Editorial letters

I posted over at Blue Rose Girls on Monday, and there's a nice discussion going on regarding editorial letters here.

And also, am cross-posting this on both blogs (meant to do this ages ago!):

My former colleague Amy Lin (formerly Amy Hsu) has launched editomato, " a small, online business offering developmental editorial services to children's book writers aiming to be published in the trade market." Amy is an incredibly fantastic and well-respected editor with superb taste, and when we worked together, I relied on her heavily for editorial advice and support. She left the company to move away to where her husband lives. How dare she.

Amy was responsible for getting Patrick McDonnell on our list, and edited his NY Times Bestselling The Gift of Nothing. She has edited such beautiful books as What Are You So Grumpy About? by Tom Lichtenheld, Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo by Greg Leitich Smith, The Geography of Girlhood by Kirsten Smith, and after her departure freelance edited Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass and Exploratopia by the Exploratorium.

So, if you want a great editorial letter, check out her site! It's adorable and nicely designed, to boot. Plus, she's a great friend!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Another New York moment

I wrote most of this last week, but didn't have a chance to finish. It seems anticlimactic to write about now, but here you go:

Last Wednesday night, a little before 6 pm, I was at work. T.S. (I just read that he also blogged about the experience on his blog) had just come over and we were talking about when to have our belated birthday Karaoke celebration. All of a sudden there was a crash, like loud thunder, and our lights dimmed for a second and I heard people gasp. I didn't think too much of it, as it had been thunderstorming all day. But then there came a low rumbling, like thunder. We paused for a moment, then kept talking, but the noise didn't stop. It was unsettling. "What IS that? Is that thunder? What IS that?" I kept asking. T.S. started walking away and then back to the window. We couldn't see anything. "You're freaking me out. That noise is freaking me out" T.S. said. I heard someone mention a fire in the building next door, smoke visible from their window. I couldn't see anything. Then our fire alarm started sounding. Connie stood up. "That's it, I'm leaving!" The fire safety director announced that there was a fire alarm on the third floor, and to stand by. People started gathering up their stuff. I went back and forth between my desk and the hallway, undecided. It was probably nothing. But what if it was something. Should I take my bag? Should I turn off my computer? I had just heated up some pasta, and the bowl of unfinished pasta was sitting on my desk. Should I go wash it out?

We looked down the hallway and A was gathering everyone up telling them to go to the emergency stairs. I grabbed my bag. "There was a lot a smoke" L said worriedly. We stood waiting for an announcement. "You should start walking down the stairs" C said, to A, who is over 8 months pregnant. That's when I started thinking, A is pregnant. M has two kids at home. L's fiance is a fire fighter. What if this is something big. What's going on?

We looked into the stairwell, and there were people going down the stairs. "Did someone tell you to go down, or did you just decide on your own?" A asked. They had just decided on their own. "We should go down" C said. "But they said the alarm was on the 3rd floor, what if we're walking into a fire?" A asked.

We pondered that and waited a little more. Then someone made the decision that we should start going down. For some reason, at that moment I decided to go back to my desk for my umbrella and galoshes, and by the time I started down the stairs, probably 2 minutes later, everyone was gone. I saw a few people I knew in the lobby, but wandered around a bit aimlessly, looking for my department but not seeing anyone. I realized I had a voicemail on my phone and tried to call. It took a few tries, but I eventually got through. It was from my roommate Rose.

"I'm on the bus right now and someone said there was an explosion in your neighborhood. I'm calling everyone I know who works in that area to see if they're okay."

I decided to go outside. People were milling around all over the place. "Someone must know what's going on." one woman said to another. They saw me with my cell phone. "Do you know what's going on?" they asked me. "I don't roommate said there was an explosion..." I wandered to Lexington Ave, thinking I would just walk home and turn on the news, and then I saw it. Billowing white smoke, and a lot of it. Everyone was on the street, watching. On their cell phones, taking pictures. I took a few pictures, too.

I stood there for a while, unsure of what to do. Nobody seemed to be panicking. Just curious. But everyone was on their cell phones, but none of my calls were getting through at this point, just like during the blackout. I overheard a woman talking about a manhole cover, another mentioned a steam pipe, another mentioned a transformer.

I had a kickball game scheduled for later that night on 137th and Riverside. I wondered if it would still be going on. Was the whole city in chaos? Should I just go up there? I amazingly got through to Meghan who was planning on playing kickball with us that night. "Where are you?" I asked. "I'm stuck in traffic in my car..." "Are you still planning to go up to the park for kickball?" "Well, I was planning on it." "Let me try to call my teammates and see if the game is still on." I had the thought: I would feel weird playing kickball if a serious tragedy had just occurred. I decided to call my parents. I figured I could get through more easily to them since they were in CA. I got through to my dad. "Dad, there was an explosion near my work and a lot of smoke...can you look on the news and let me know what's going on?" He checked the internet first, nothing. Then CNN on the TV. Nothing. "Oh well, you're safe, right?" he said. I was. "I love you!" we said. I tried calling my friend Alexis, who was also co-captain of our kickball game. "Do you know what's going on?" I asked "Well, the game is still on, I don't think it's going to rain." "No, I mean, what's going on with the city?" "What do you mean?" I told her about the explosion, the smoke. "No, I'm here in Times Square eating dumplings. Didn't know about any of that! Although I did hear a bunch of sirens."

I decided that if the West side of Manhattan was oblivious, things overall were probably fine. My dad called back "It was a steam pipe explosion." He read me an article on CNN. He paused. "So, it's not terrorists. You're okay." It didn't occur to me exactly that I needed to hear that. I didn't really think it was terrorists. But still.

And so I walked over the Columbus Circle to catch the train. The day ended normally, with a kickball game (we lost, yet again), and happy hour drinks. The next morning, the streets on the way to work were emptier than usual, but by the following day, for the most part, everything seemed back to normal.

Just another NY story.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How do I know if I'm a good editor?

I usually mean to cross-reference my Blue Rose Girls posts here, but always forget. Anyway, yesterday I wrote a post in anwer to a question Sara asked a long time ago, check it out here.

How many readers of this blog also read the Blue Rose Girls, by the way? Maybe I don't need to cross-post. (FYI, I post every Monday over there.)

My birthday weekend

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday. I celebrated by having a third annual rooftop/terrace party at my apartment on Friday the 13th. I got back from CA late Wednesday night, worked Thursday and Friday, and then prepared for the party. It was a great turnout, although I tried to keep it a bit smaller than past years because my roommates were a little concerned about the roof caving in.

My brother Felix came up from DC for the weekend, which was great. I had coworkers, Randoms, Kidlit people, kickball people, and other friends, a nice balance and mix of folks, I think. I had been checking the weather obsessively, and it threatened scattered thunderstorms and showers, but after feeling a few tiny drops around 8 pm, the sky cleared up and it was the perfect night to be outside.I made four pitchers of sangria, four avocados worth of my "famous" white bean avocado dip, and supplied hot dogs for the grill. We had two Libertarians and a Communist, children's book authors and librarians, editors and designers, scientists and teachers and copywriters, etc. And cupcakes, of course! And I collected a great candy stash for yesterday. As usual, I don't feel that I got to talk to any guest a significant amount, as I was running around a lot, but I had a fantastic time--I love throwing parties. And late-night the party turned into a mini dance party, which was fun. A late-night diner run with the last guests, and then my brother and I walked back to my apartment as the sun came up.

Also saw Sicko that weekend (so sad!), went out to Williamsburg for a mellow party Saturday night, had dim sum with my brother on Sunday before putting him on the Chinatown bus, managed to squeeze in a quick run, then met up with an old friend from when I lived in Taiwan who was in town for a few days. I hadn't seen her in about nine years, and it was great to catch up.

And then on my real birthday, I went to work and ate candy. A ton of candy. And then saw the Decemberists at SummerStage. Once again, it had threatened rain earlier in the night, but it was a gorgeous evening, and a great concert. And I almost finished the huge lollipop.

I've never dreaded turning a certain age, but for some reason I was less than excited to be turning 33, but after reading this blog post over at the Disco Mermaids, I felt a bit better about it.

Thanks for the birthday wishes, everyone, and thanks to all who helped me have a wonderful birthday. Till next year...

Friday, July 06, 2007



Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

via Fuse #8


Ah, to have time to do Memes. Just a random one I read today. Nothing too exciting, I'm afraid. Today I ran 8+ miles on the treadmill (gotta get training for the August half marathon), got a hair cut (shoulder length), went to lunch with my parents (tempura soba and salmon sushi), went with my dad to buy goldfish for the pond, and now am resting, about to read. Hurray for vacation!

1. Your name spelled backwards: anivlA
2. Where were your parents born? Both were born in Taiwan, in the Tainan area
3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? probably music
4. What's your favorite restaurant? I haven't been there in a while, but possibly Cafe Mogador. Oh, am loving Le Pain Quotidiens lately.
5. Last time you swam in a pool? I think it was in a hotel in Taiwan
6. Have you ever been in a school play? Yes, in junior high.
7. How many kids do you want? 1-4
8. Type of music you dislike most? I don't know if I hate any kind of music with a passion, but I probably listen the least to country and rap.
9. Are you registered to vote? Yes.
10. Do you have cable? Yes.
11. Have you ever ridden on a moped? Yes--owned one in Taiwan.
12. Ever prank call anybody? Yes, in high school.
13. Ever get a parking ticket? Yup.
14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? Both. But at this point, I guess I'd try the former since I've done the latter.
15. Furthest place you ever traveled? Australia
16. Do you have a garden? Nope, but I've been enjoying my parents' garden since being home
17. What's your favorite comic strip? Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, Mutts
18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? Yes.
19. Bath or Shower, morning or night? I take showers, usually in the morning
20. Best movie you've seen in the past month? I guess Knocked Up. Waitress was good, too.
21. Favorite pizza topping? Black olives
22. Chips or popcorn? POPCORN!!!!
23. What color lipstick do you usually wear? I don't really wear lipstick, but I guess maybe a neutral shade when I do? Or coral?
24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? Wow, that's a weird question. Is that what the young 'uns are doing these days? No.
25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? No, thank goodness.
26. Orange Juice or apple? Orange, I guess.
27. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine? Had dinner with my mother, younger brother Ben, and his girlfriend Susan last night at some Taiwanese restaurant in Hacienda Heights, don't know the name.
28. Favorite type chocolate bar? Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (looking forward to eating on on the 16th)
29. When was the last time you voted at the polls? Ummm...I think I voted within the last 4 years, but don't have a strong memory of what it was for or who/what I voted for.
30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? No idea.
31. Have you ever won a trophy? Umm...I actually don't think so. I've won medals and plaques, though.
32. Are you a good cook? I'm decent.
33. Do you know how to pump your own gas? Yes.
34. Ever order an article from an infomercial? Yes--I ordered the Egg Wave! (lets you microwave eggs--not a good purchase)
35. Sprite or 7-up? 7-Up, I guess. I don't really drink soda, and if I do, then it's usually Ginger Ale.
36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work? I had a red and white striped polo shirt and apron when I worked at Mrs. Field's Cookies.
37. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy? Pepcid AC. ;)
38. Ever throw up in public? I must have, but not recently.
39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or find true love? True love with a millionaire. Just kidding. True love.
40. Do you believe in love at first sight? Not really. Like at first sight, though.
41. Can exes be friends? Yes, but not easily.
42. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital? Tanya when Leesie was born.
43. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby? Yes!
44. What's your all time favorite Saturday Night Live Character? Wayne
45. What was the name of your first pet? Pippy (parakeet)
46. What is in your purse? Wallet, iPod, camera, book, sunglasses, pen...
47. Favorite thing to do before bedtime? watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report
48. What is one thing you are grateful for today? Being with family, enjoying my parents' house

via Amy, dig?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Diamond Bar

I'm at my parents' house in Diamond Bar, CA. (On Tuesday at work I was talking to an author who said, "Oh, are you going to Gold Bar?" haha--wrong precious substance.) I lived in this city from 8th grade through high school. It's a pretty nice place to live, I suppose. It's beautiful, with rolling hills, lots of green, flowers, wilderness, wildlife, peaceful. I don't like the car culture, though, but that's just me. I do like visiting--my parents' house is spacious yet comfortable, and the backyard is full of fruit trees, balconies, paths, ponds, swings, even a tennis court.

I played tennis with my parents and my uncle this morning, and then went for a short run/walk around the neighborhood (Snoop Dog lives in my neighborhood--I know which house is his, but have never seen him. There's always a car with a guy--body guard--sitting outside of it.). Saw two rabbits hanging out, they didn't seem afraid of me. I think one of them was named Peter. ANYway, Diamond Bar is about 40% Asian, which you can believe was a huge shock when I moved here from Upstate NY, where you could count the number of Asians in my school on one hand.

Last night I arrived around 7 pm, and I went with my parents up to this community center up on a hill to see the fireworks. (My fellow spectators were probably 75% Asian.) You could see the fireworks displays sprinkled all over the horizon. People kept saying things like, "Oh, do you think that's in Rowland Heights?" and "Is that in the City of Industry?" or "Maybe that's the Disney Land show." Typical Southern California. It made me realize what a different world I live in now. I feel lucky to have lived in many different places.

I'm back home primarily for a family reunion in the San Diego area that starts on Sunday--my cousin Jimmy is being ordained as a minister. For once, I hadn't made plans in advance to see any of my friends--I've been so busy, and to be honest, am feeling a bit burned out. But after a relaxing evening and morning here, I sent out an email to my friends--"I'm here!"--it's last-minute, so who knows if I'll get to see any of them. But I'm looking forward to spending time with my family and seeing all of my cousins' little kids--there are a few new additions I haven't met yet.

Anyway, there wasn't really a point to this post, but as I vowed to post once a week, I wanted to check in. I hope everyone had a happy Fourth of July!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Poetry Friday--an ode to school librarians

Hey, look--two posts in two days! The other day, the lovely J. Patrick Lewis left a comment and poem on my blog, and I thought I'd re-post it as my first-ever Poetry Friday post:

Apropos of nothing at all, Alvina, I wanted to share with you my admiration for school librarians. I meet so many of them on author visits. Anyway, here's a
new sonnet:

xo, Pat

School Librarian Day
April 4

The School Librarian

A sign hangs on her door,
When you walk in, the whole library knows—
A welcome bell hums like a tuning fork.
She’ll tell you what to read and what to skip.
You name a book; she heads right to the shelf.
The rumor is she’s read them all herself.
No one has ever run a tighter ship.
These days, a job like hers is electronic
Because computers answer every need.
Librarians belong to a new breed.
But here at Booklyn, isn’t it ironic?
She still treats books like they are dreams come true.
And you had better treat them that way, too.

Thanks, Pat! Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Work, Spring list, stuff

I think I'm recovered from ALA now. I hope to do a whole wrap-up on Monday over at the Blue Rose Girls. But in the meantime, I'll just say that it was busy, exhausting, thrilling, and fun. I attended the Caldecott/Newbery dinner for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I seemed to have barely a minute free from Saturday through Monday, was booked most days from 8:30 am till 11 at night. It was the busiest conference I've ever attended. But more on that later. I got home late Monday night, only to go to work early on Tuesday to prepare for our Focus meeting for our Spring 2008 list. For those of you who don't know what Focus is, it's sometimes called Launch, sometimes called Presales. Basically, it's the first formal meeting that we have to introduce our books on a certain list to the sales force. Generally, we have a Focus meeting, then a Presales meeting, and finally the formal Sales meeting. At my company, the editors usually only get to present their titles at Focus, and then only the editorial directors present at Presales and Sales (although this policy keeps changing). Just to give you a sneak peek, my four hardcover titles for the Spring 08 list are:

Sergio Makes a Splash by Edel Rodriguez: this is the first picture book both written and illustrated by Edel, and he's using a completely different art style--very simple, graphic, bright. Sergio is a penguin from Argentina who loves water but doesn't know how to swim.

The Blue Stone by Jimmy Liao: our follow up to The Sound of Colors, this is another 80-page breathtakingly illustrated book. This one follows the journey of a blue stone as it is transformed from one thing to another. It's carved into an elephant statue for a museum, then becomes a bird statue in an elderly woman's garden. It becomes a stone cat in an orphanage to keep the children company, and a heart-shaped necklace for a teenager's first love. This is a story of the different possibilities of life, and finding home again.

Crocs! by David Greenberg, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger: another installment in the "gross animal" series, alongside Slugs!, Bugs!, Snakes!, and Skunks! When a boy and his dog need a break from the busy, dirty city, they go to a tropical island for vacation, not realizing they're about to encounter an islandful of crocodiles.

The Postcard by Tony Abbott: his follow-up to Firegirl (now out in paperback), this one is quite different. I like to call it Holes meets Chasing Vermeer meets Carl Hiaasen. When Jason's grandmother dies, he's sent down to Florida to help his father deal with the funeral and selling of her house. A mysterious phone call leads Jason to discover an old postcard that launches him on a journey to uncover family secrets.

So, keep an eye out for these books come Spring! In terms of my workload, I'm almost done dealing with this list, and am about to start concentrating on my Fall 2008 list. I have a lot of novels on that list, so I'm anticipating more craziness. I had a moment of despair today thinking about it. There are times when work is hectic, but I can see an end in sight, I can see it getting better. But today, I realized that for the next three months its only going to get worse. My cube has been a disaster zone for the past month, and it's past the perfect mess state, and has now reached the unproductive, I-can't-find-anything state. But I stayed at the office till 9:30 tonight, put together my new shelves that I ordered from OfficeMax, and managed to create a semblance of order once again. I went through old emails from a month ago and responded and sorted emails dated up to June 7th. I'm hoping to get through another few weeks worth tomorrow. I'm feeling better. I'll have two days next week to catch up, and then I'm off for vacation to Southern CA for a family reunion on the Fourth of July. I have no more trips planned for the rest of the summer, so I should have plenty of time to get work back on track.

I think I can, I think I can.

On a brighter note, last night I went to see Manu Chao at the Prospect Park bandshell. It was a miserably hot, sticky night. The subway down there was slow and crowded. I was sweating sweating sweating. But after I finally met up with my friends, drank down a cold beer, made a work call, and finally the music started, all was wonderful again in the world. The rain held off until the middle of the encore, and by then it was welcome and exhilarating. We danced in the rain. Later that night, my phone stopped working. It said "Car Kit" on the face of it, for some reason. I googled it and discovered this was probably due to water damage. I thought I'd have to buy a new phone. But today, I went to Verizon, and instead of asking me if the phone got wet, the technician said, "Well, this is usually a sign of water damage, but as there is no physical evidence of this, we'll replace the phone." Woo-hoo!

Sometimes things work out.

Okay, I pounded out this post because T.S. complained that I don't post a lot anymore. Happy now?

Oh, one more thing. I FINALLY finished reading Carter Beats the Devil which some of you have noticed has been in my "What I'm Reading Now" queue for probably the last 6 months or so. You probably thought I just wasn't updating it, but you were wrong. I've really been reading it for that long. I kept putting it down and starting other things and losing it and then finding it again and reading more. It was a really really great book, and I wish I had read it without all those breaks, but regardless, it was still a fascinating, compelling read.

I'm hoping to finish New Moon tonight, which I've also been reading for a while.

And with that, I say good night.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Crazy busy, company outing and Corporate Challenge, and off to ALA

It's been another crazy busy week (Connie and I cranked out four acquisition proposals in a day and a half, including one last-minute auction project), but capped off with our very first company outing in Central Park, complete with hula-hooping, three-legged races, egg carry, bake-off, basketball, volleyball, softball and kickball, and more. I was roped into helping organize a softball game, and as I mentioned here, I also suggested kickball. The main game was softball, though, and I'm glad it was. I played on our company softball team back when we were based in Boston, and even though I've never been very good, it just brought back good memories. I played catcher, the position I used to always play back in the day. It's just a plain ton of fun. And I was captain of the winning team, woo-hoo! We won 4-0 after 7 innings. During the game I kept feeling like I was pulling something (what's the muscle on the back of the thigh?), and also got hit by the softball on my right knee while running to third (actually, I was already standing on third when the ball hit me), but I'm not really complaining, it was a great time. What I always loved about our softball team in Boston is that it united people from different departments. I have very little contact with coworkers outside of the young readers division, so it was good to meet some new people and get to know some familiar faces better.

The kickball game was a little scrappier and shorter, just three innings, and I think we lost 4-2 or 3-2. But it's just so fun seeing grown adults playing kickball. It's fantastic.

And THEN, later tonight, I ran in the Chase Corporate Challenge. My team introduced ourselves to each other by saying our name, department, and our running experience. It was weird realizing that I was actually one of the more experienced runners there. I'm used to being the amateur runner, the one just starting out, the one who never quite considered herself a runner, but now, 15 years later, multiple races, half marathons, and a marathon under my belt, including 3 or 4 Corporate Challenges, I guess I'm an old pro. There were so many people running their first organized race, and I must make a special shout-out to Jill, who only started jogging a month ago. She finished, and ran the whole way. Congratulations, Jill! You'll be running marathons before you know it. I remember my first Corporate Challenge in Boston my first or second year working at my company--it was my first official race, too.

Just as the race started, I heard someone call my name, and who would it be but Cheryl! Scholastic had the coolest T-shirts. Ours was plan navy blue with our logo on the back. And I didn't even wear mine because there were only larges left. I'm determined to make sure our company has a cool T-shirt next year.

I've been running regularly, but haven't been working on my speed. I made my goal to finish with an average of just under 10-minute miles, but after a quick start, weaving through the crowds, I ran an 8-minute first mile. I decided to try to keep up the pace. It was hard, I tell ya. But after raining for about a half hour before the race, the sky opened up, rainbow and flowing clouds and blue sky, and it was absolutely gorgeous, a little muggy, but overall perfect running weather. I crossed the finish line at 31:22, which if you subtract the 2 minutes it took to get to the starting line, means a net time of 29:22. Which means I ran about 8 and a half minute miles!!! (right? I'm horrible at math, as I mentioned in #6) I've never, ever, run a race that fast. Maybe being sore from softball and kickball actually helped, because it felt good to stretch out my muscles by running.

Phew. Then got caught in the rain on the way home. I'm absolutely exhausted.

Now I have to pack for ALA. My basic schedule is here, so if you're going, please stop by the booth and say hi!

I hope I'm not too sore tomorrow...

Monday, June 18, 2007

I <3 Lily Allen

Lily Allen is awesome. Went to her concert last night at the Warsaw in Brooklyn. Even though she complained at the start about being sick and having the runs (I forget how she said it, but in her cockney accent, it was adorable), she put on a kick-ass show. I was pretty close to the stage, but also right next to the speakers. I'm a little deaf this morning.

Here's her Smile video.

(If this doesn't work, you can view it here.)

I've decided I want to see more live music. I love it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I've resolved to post at least once a week, even if it's just a stupid short little thing. This was actually one of my New Year's Resolutions, and as it seems it has fallen to the wayside like a few others (including my limit on sweet baked goods a week--damn those cupcakes!), I've decided to strengthen my resolve again.

Both Elaine and 7 Imp tagged me for this meme a while ago, and I'm finally getting around to it. Here are the rules:

Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

This feels similar to the 6 Weird Things Meme, but I'll try to think of different things. Let's see. Habits?

1. The first thing I do when I wake up is turn on my computer

2. I often narrate my life in my head as if I were a character in a book (I suspect that a lot of book people do this--am I right?).

3. For the last month or so, for no explicable reason, I've gotten the song "Red River Valley" stuck in my head as soon as I enter the bathroom in the morning, and often find myself singing it in the shower.

4. I always keep my fridge/freezer stocked with Hot Pockets, Tater Tots, tofu, and spinach.

5. Unless I'm carrying something heavy or wearing very uncomfortable shoes, I'll take the stairs up and down from my 6th floor apartment, even though I have an elevator.

6. I'm horrible with simple math (additions, multiplication, percentages). I still use my fingers to count sometimes, and never fully learned my times table. But I still got As in math, even AP Calculus in high school.

7. I take Pepsid AC when I drink alcohol to ward off the "Asian flush" (I think I have this on both my friendster and myspace profile, so I feel like I'm cheating...)

8. I'm really bad with faces and names, so don't feel bad if I don't remember you. It's me, not you. For some reason, it's hard for me to remember what people look like until I've taken a physical picture of them--even after meeting them several times. Even when I try to recall a loved one's face, I need to conjure up a photograph of them in my head.

Okay. Shoot, now I have to tag people...I'll go tag Libby, Linda, Amy, Tanya, Sara, Phoebe, Steve, and Jenny.

Oh, and if you're an author and you haven't weighed in yet, check out my poll over on the Blue Rose Girls (and don't forget that I post there every Monday--if I can post there once a week, why can't I do that here?). It's also a post about all the panels I've been on lately, and thus why I've been too busy to post.

And on a personal note, I just played in my first kickball game last night! (Yes, I joined a kickball league. Apparently two little kids who were walking by thought it was hilarious to see adults playing kickball and laughed at us). I didn't strike out as I was afraid I'd do (that would have been supremely embarrassing), but I did pop up once, and did drop a pop up. But I caught another, and got several "hits" (are they called "kicks" in kickball?), and even an RBI. Not bad for not playing since junior high! Which, when I actually thought about how long ago that would be, turns out to be 20+ years ago. And it was a TON of fun, even though the team we played was ultra-serious and competitive and didn't belong in the "just for fun" league. And beat us something like 17 to 4.

I was asked to help organize a softball game at our company picnic next week, and although I love softball and miss playing, I may suggest that we play kickball instead.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dad ran a marathon!!!

Yesterday, in San Diego, CA, my 69-year-old father ran the Rock 'n' Roll marathon. He finished in a little over 6 hours. He was inspired by my roommate and me running last year, and I'm so proud of him. (And part of me is a bit relieved, too--I couldn't help but feel a little responsible for his decision to run, and my mother wouldn't have been very happy with me if he had hurt himself training.) We talked about running one together next year (My mom didn't seem too happy when I told her our plan). We'll see!

I'm sorry I couldn't be there with him, but I saw the pictures on my brother's flickr page. Here are a few:

at mile 10

mom and dad at the finish line

happy to be finished

Congratulations, Dad! You're incredible!!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Toronto trip and IRA wrap-up

I've been writing this post in between cupcake-making chores. We baked approximately 144 cupcakes, and then tonight had friends over to help decorate them. Our first 48 pictured here, guarded by Chowder:

So, as promised, my Toronto and IRA wrap-up. IRA was great--a bit quiet, as attendance was approximately half as last year's convention, but it was still an active, busy conference. Little, Brown hosted five authors: Marc Brown, Alice Hoffman, J. Patrick Lewis, Tony Abbott, and Peter Brown. I enjoyed the little of Toronto I was able to see--it was my first time there, and I'd like to go back to visit!

This may be a little more detailed than you'd like to read but here goes--everything you ever wanted to know about my trip. This is what my schedule was like:


Evening: Arrive in Toronto. Call my colleagues and go to a cute French Bistro on King Street for dinner. We sit in a heated back courtyard, which is lovely. There's a large party that takes over half of the area--an 18th or 21st birthday party of a girl who arrives wearing a dress and a tiara. Her whole family is there. There's a long "adult" table, a kids' table, and a table with her friends. Towards the end of the night the mother stands up and gives a speech, ending with, "If any of you have funny stories or memories about XXX, now's the time to tell them," at which point my colleague Lisa and I look at each other and then look around and realize that we are now the only two people in the back area who don't belong to the party. I'm tempted to stand up and give a toast.


8:30 am: I meet poet J. Patrick Lewis for the first time. Victoria joins us for breakfast. I order an egg white lobster omelet. Pat is wonderful, funny, warm, comfortable. We'd talked on the phone and emailed, but had never met in person, and I'm glad we had the opportunity to sit down over a meal and get to know one another.

10:00-2:00 pm: Off to the convention center for booth duty. I stack up a pile of Atherton galleys by Patrick Carman. Mark from Just One More Book stops by to introduce himself, and then Mo Willems stops by with his editor to say hi. It turns out the two of them were supposed to meet for an interview, so all three of them quickly disappear together. The Atherton pile also disappears in less than three hours. The booth traffic is light by steady. I enjoy talking about the books to the teachers who come by. I see a few publishing colleagues and chat.
2:30: I grab lunch and then walk the floor for an hour or so, saying hi to authors and editors I know, looking at some of the new books out. I get a copy of the Love, Stargirl galley. Jerry Spinelli had asked a while ago if he could use my name for a character in it. Ah, there I am on the back cover copy. "hot-tempered Alvina"--I like it!

5:00: Back to the hotel to work out before dinner. The hotel gym is very nice, and the treadmills have a tv built in.

6:45: Meet Tony Abbott in the Lobby of our hotel. We grab a cab to our restaurant. Right before we get in the cab, it starts sprinkling. During the 15-minute cab ride, it starts pouring rain. I say, "Wouldn't it be nice if it stopped raining by the time we reached the restaurant?" Tony laughs. We arrive at Chiado, a Portuguese restaurant. Tony steps out first. "It stopped raining!"

Dinner was divine. Wine, cheese, a fresh fig salad, the cod special, dessert and coffee, superb service, great conversation, the whole shebang.


9:30 am: Check work email

10:30: Meet Tony at his session with Laurie Halse Anderson. He talks about how he hates being asked, "So, what's the book about?" because it's such a loaded question, and so difficult to answer. The book is about what the book is about. He talks about the life a book takes after it's published.

12:30: Tony's signing of Firegirl at the booth. Despite the light attendance, there is a steady stream of people. At one point, I notice a large group of Asian kids walk by, see the sign that says, "Now signing: Tony Abbott" and do a double take. They put down their stuff and chatter amongst themselves. I notice that there are two adults mixed into the group. I wonder what their story is--there are rarely children at these conferences. The whole group of them go and buy books and stand in line, and soon Tony is surrounded by the excited group, all holding out their books to be signed, taking pictures. It turns out that they're from Korea, where Tony's Secret of Droon series is a huge hit, and where Firegirl is also to be translated. They had been waiting for his signing at the Scholastic booth when they happened upon our signing.

1:30: J. Patrick Lewis's signing of Tulip at the Bat and Wing Nuts at the booth. Also a nice, steady stream of people. Pat has the best autograph ever--looping big letters in a brown Sharpie. "I see you're not a doctor, " one woman in line commented. Pat laughed. "Actually, I am, " he says, "PhD." She's embarrassed. "Hello Dr. Lewis," she greets him when she reaches the front of the line.

2:30: Peter Brown arrives at the booth. I get a smoothie to go and we walk the show together. It's Peter's first time at a conference, and he's a bit overwhelmed at how big it is and how many books are published. "How does any one book ever get noticed?" He wonders out loud.

We come across Linda Sue Park signing books and I get a copy of Project Mulberry signed and say hi. She says she likes that the show isn't too busy.

4:00: Peter and I meet Mark from Just One More Book (hear my previous podcast interview with him here) for a joint interview about the author-editor relationship. You can hear Peter and my interview here.

4:30: Back to the hotel to check work email, rest, and work out before dinner.

7:00: Dinner at a fabulous Greek seafood restaurant, Mediterra with Peter Brown, coworkers Victoria and Nora, and three kidslit experts. My scallops were so delicious ("Like buttah," Victoria says), as was the dessert called "death by chocolate." Conversation ranged from favorite teachers, to scrotum, to politics.

10:oo pm: Peter and I meet up with one of his friends who lives in Toronto for drinks. Peter's friend is Middle Grade novelist Adrienne Kress, whose first novel, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman will be out this Fall. Coincidentally (more coincidences!), my company participated in the auction for this book. I wasn't the bidding editor, but I was one of the editorial readers, and I loved the book. We don't win the auction, though. A few months later, Peter mentions to me that he met a children's book author and told me the title of her book. "Why does that sound familiar...oh, I read that!" In person, she is chatty and friendly and energetic, and it was fun talking kids' books with the both of them. I also get some recommendations from Adrienne for places to go/see in Toronto.


8:45: Check work email, send my assistant Connie a last-minute description for a novel I'm bringing to our acquisitions meeting next week.

9:15: Meet Peter for breakfast

11:00: Peter Brown's book signing of Chowder and Flight of the Dodo. We get there a little early and Victoria shoos us out of the booth. We do a quick lap around the floor and by the time we get back, a short line has formed. Peter sits down and starts signing. He starts drawing little Chowders (in Chowder) and little Kiwis (in Flight of the Dodo) and the line gets longer. Victoria comes over. "Is he drawing a new book?!" she hisses. "I'll hurry things along" I say. He stops drawing Chowders and Kiwis. The line is still long. Victoria, Nora, and Lisa all give us looks to hurry up. But I like the line--and besides, there have hardly been any lines at the conference. Peter chats it up and gets invited twice to do a school visit in Guam. But we do eventually speed things up. He sells out of books, and we even sell the display copy of Flight of the Dodo. And we had been worried that a Wednesday signing wouldn't be well-attended!

12:30: We have some time to kill before Peter's session with Elise Primavera, and so we do a lap around the session rooms and see that Janet Wong is speaking now, and go in for a bit. She's hilarious. Makes people do yoga, tell stories. We run into Yolanda LeRoy there. We sneak out a bit early to get a snack before Peter's session. Peter suddenly realizes that he doesn't have a copy of any of his books with him, and I realize that we've sold out of books. "Lisa has a copy of Chowder, at least" I say. She had Peter sign a copy to her pug, Frodo. "And we might have the display F&G of The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder..." we go down to check, and yes, both Chowders. But no Flight of the Dodo to be had. "Someone will probably be at your session who bought it today, we can borrow it from them."

We cart a box of Chowder plush (as pictured before guarding the cupcakes) up to the session room. Worried by the Wednesday afternoon session time, we wanted to give people incentive to show up. Elise Primavera and editor Ari from Hyperion are already in the room setting up. A total of ten people show up for the session, a bit pitiful, but we all make the most of it. Elise talks about her new Fred & Anthony series, and Peter talks about how he became a picture book author and illustrator, and the inspiration behind Flight of the Dodo and Chowder. After the talk I see Peter into a cab to the airport. The exhibition hall is now closed.

3:30: Met fellow editor and blogger Stacy Whitman for coffee. It was our first time meeting (well, after a quick hello on Monday) and it was great to learn more about her and her career. We had both interned at the Horn Book.

6:00: I take a trip to Queen St. West to go shopping in the freezing rain before meeting a friend (and former intern who now works for Penguin Canada) in the same neighborhood for dinner. I buy a dress and a bag. We get Korean food--all-you-can-eat BBQ. Delicious. I hadn't had Korean food in a while.

Back in the hotel room I use a hair dryer to dry my jeans and shoes so I can pack them away.

(I rescued a few Chowders to keep me company)


8:30 am: Meet Yolanda for breakfast. The weather is brisk but beautiful, blue sky and fluffy clouds are out after the storm. We take the subway up to the Museum stop to check out a breakfast place called Over Easy Adrienne had recommended. It was perfect. Then we walk around the University of Toronto until I have to leave to catch my flight to Boston.

And that, my friends, is everything you needed to know about my trip to Toronto. Anna and Grace picked me up at the airport in Boston. The cupcakes are all decorated and safely in the car to keep cool. The big party is tomorrow! Aside from making cupcakes, we've been making paper flowers and stuffing goody bags and planning. Over 100 people have RSVPed that they're coming--it should be a fantastic time.

And then Grace flies out to San Antonio on Sunday morning and I return to New York.

Sorry for the terribly long post! More later. It's time for bed.