Friday, June 28, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

the strawberry in our garden

Up until now (except when I was a child), I've lived in apartment buildings where I could only have green thumb dreams.  But at the new house, we've started a small raised bed garden. Even though we are beginners, we do already have a sweet, red strawberry:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

the maintenance year

travelers on our own journey!

So, this is the time of year when publishing world is all abuzz with their national conferences and award ceremonies--none of which I will be attending. As I read my friends' and colleagues' facebook feeds and twitter streams, I do feel slight twinges of envy. However, the emotion I feel in spades is anxiety. I wonder if somehow my work, my books, are being forgotten, left behind--that all I have tried to build is fading away.

But truly, my biggest fear is not that I've been unable to promote or network. My biggest fear is that I will never be able to do my best work again. For creating a book--at least for me-- is a very selfish  endeavor. It needs great chunks of alone time--thinking time, goofing time, as well as writing time.  It also needs very focused brain power.  All of which has been in short supply since Rain Dragon's arrival. Which is why my plans for novel #3 have remained just that--plans. No drafts, no outlines, no sketches.  My ambitions have been forced to take a backseat as the most I could manage this past year was keeping afloat!

I read somewhere that working moms should shift their attitude towards their careers for the year (s?) after their baby's birth. Instead of trying to achieve ambitious promotions, they should, instead, look at this time as "maintenance."

Even though I know I would've cringed at those words last year, I now embrace them.  It's much more comforting to chalk up this past year to maintenance instead of facing the possibility that I've peaked. 

 And if it was a maintenance year, then that also gives me the power  to decide that it's is over. We're now moved into the new house, I've hired a babysitter to help out and the studio is almost in a working state. Hope springs eternal, and hopefully this spring (er, summer) I can start everything anew. Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

another real life Ling & Ting!

I saved my favorite part of last week's school visit entry for a separate post. Because while I was at the school I received these two beautiful cards:

From two beautiful girls:

Do you notice something about them? Yes, they are twins! I met another real life Ling and Ting!

Monday, June 24, 2013

on my desk monday

On my desk is the Judy Lopez Memorial Honor certificate for Starry River of the Sky!

I was very happy that Starry River of the Sky received this! I was (am) so proud of this book and I feel like it's still trying to find its feet with readers.  I really do believe Starry River of the Sky is my best written book (yet?) so, I'm gratified that the Lopez committee found it worthy and hope it  helps widen the book's readership!

Friday, June 21, 2013

fortune cookie friday

"Do not hope to reach a destination without leaving the shore.”
-Chinese Proverb

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Belated Post: the new local

Now that we were officially installed in our new house, school visits began to shift. What was once local was now quite a distance and what was once far was now close by. So when I visited the three schools of Longmeadow, I realized that they were now my new local.

And what a great new local it was! With warm welcomes all around:

With super teacher Nina Metz, who promised to be my tour guide for the area
love this!

this is a "red thread" display, showing how people are connected!

To all the amazing projects they did with my books. I loved everything they did with Starry River of the Sky:
The Day of Five Poisons Art activity!
 They even did the Math Puzzles:

I especially loved this door:

I'm impressed they mastered the wang symbol!
the art deserved a close up!
 There were also projects with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, like handmade goldfish:

and ponderous questions:

these are hilarious! I like the one about no homework.

As well as thoughtful essays and beautiful artwork about their favorite parts:

Ling and Ting was lovingly reillustrated:

And Pacy and Melody's science fair experiment from Year of the Dog was tested:

And, really, that was just a small portion of all the great projects they did!  There were many, many more:
this whole wall is filled with student biographies of yours truly!
It was so nice to realize how great my new local is going to be! Thanks so much, Longmeadow Schools!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rain Dragon's Room!

So, there were two rooms that I wanted "done" for Rain Dragon's birthday party. One was the living room (since that was where we were congregating) and the other was her bedroom. I admit I wanted to show off the clouds.

Well, I didn't complete finish her room but it's pretty close! The Sasquatch says it's the nicest room in the house.  I am rather proud!

We hung up her 100 Wishes Quilt as it was too beautiful to use:

And the Sasquatch's mom sewed the bedding and coordinating curtains:

we are doing the Japanese tatami mat floor sleeping since we can't get her to sleep in a crib!
I wasted many happy hours just looking at fabric before I settled on these! The  constellation fabric was my favorite!  I wasn't sure if the  rainbow zigzag and the flowers  would go well together, but now I love it.
Her name spelled out with  Melissa Sweet's Alphabet Wall Cards:

And her reading corner:
the leaf canopy is from IKEA, it reminded my of My Neighbor Totoro!

And then there is her balloon light, floating in the sky:

This light was a huge splurge! But we couldn't resist.

But I didn't quite finish everything. I meant to do something more interesting than just simple blue paint for her IKEA dresser. And the unfinished switchplate and blank wall just cry out for something more colorful:

the animal lights I bought years ago, I don't think they make them anymore!

And behind the door is her  growth tree that I drew but didn't paint:

I'll post a photo when it's finished!

But, at least, the room is finished enough for her to enjoy it:

already a mess!

Monday, June 17, 2013

on my desk monday

During my school visit to Tulsa, OK, they gave me veggies chips that included green beans--and now I am addicted! The Whole Foods version is okay--but the kind they had in Tulsa is superior! Why don't they have a Sprouts here?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Belated Post: a day visit in CT

So, I wish I could post about all of my school visits! I try to post about most of them, however I often forget to take photos and-- being the visual person that I am--without photos, I sometimes forget. 

However, this school,  I did remember and not just because of the great projects the students did with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon:

everyone drew their own dragon!
As well as the with Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat:

students researched their zodiac animals and wrote about them and also created their own (if they didn't agree with their given animal)
Or the very thoughtful questions they prepared:

All those things were wonderful, but what made me remember this school was that a student came to my presentation dressed up as Minli!

I wish I had a better photo! She even did her hair the same way.
Isn't that nice? Thanks for the memories!