Friday, July 31, 2009

National Book Festival

September 26, 2009: I hope to see you at the National Book Festival in Washington, D. C.!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Squirrel Guard

A few feet from my office window is this tree.  An older, fatter squirrel used to pause here each morning and watch me work.  This squirrel may well be the offspring of that fatter one.  All the squirrels in the yard seem busier than usual today, gathering the hickory nuts that fell in last night's storm. Up and down the trees they go, up and down.  Only this one pauses to watch me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Once I was young . . .

This is me, at age twelve. That white mark near my eye is not a scar; it's a tear in the photograph. This is probably the only year when I was young that I had short hair, and what a hairdo it is, mm?  That boyish cut. That curl!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book Bag

My neighbor made this book-purse for me, from one of my books, Absolutely Normal Chaos.  I'm not sure the photos will do it justice, but it is just quirky enough and funky enough to suit me.

She also made one for Karen Hesse from her book, Brooklyn Bridge, and one for Kate DiCamillo from The Tale of Desperaux.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Like many children, both of my grandchildren get up in the morning and start layering. They often begin with 'regular' clothes (shorts or skirt, a shirt) and as the morning moves along, they add layers: boas, an extra skirt or leggings, gloves, necklaces, ribbons, hats.  Each new adornment requires a shift in mannerisms. The blue gloves and purse above prompted an instant "la de da."  In The Unfinished Angel (Sept '09), the character of Zola dresses in multiple layers, just like my granddaughter.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


At top, granddaughter Pearl with her various adornments, and below, grandson Nico in a 'Spidey' costume. We are having a grand time with Pearl and Nico and all their cousins and aunts and uncles. Much eating, running, jumping, swinging, swimming, singing, falling, bandaids. These are our annual Creech Weeks. Ta da!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Good Summer for Roses

We've had a good combination of rain and sun here in western New York this summer, and the plant life is thriving.  The roses seem especially lush.  I swoon.

The Japanese beetles have descended upon the lone blackberry and raspberry bushes, though. Don't want to use the beetle traps which seem to attract more than they repel.  Any suggestions?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Young Creechers

Above are some of the young, fun, buoyant Creechers:  one boy holding his own in this group among five especially cool girls. 
Yesterday, the children selected rocks from the lake, decorated them, added messages, and placed them at the base of a maple tree which we've planted in memory of my brother Dennis who died in January.  The kids made this a sweet, joyous occasion. We sprinkled a little tobacco over the earth because my brother was a smoker and would have appreciated the gesture.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Playhouse Girls

This is one of my favorite photos from last summer: my grandaughter and two cousins in the playhouse, dressing up.  They were completely engrossed. I didn't have my camera handy last night when four of the young cousins ran to the playhouse and came out a half hour later decked in everything from a jazz costume to Batman.  More photos of playhouse and kids (from real time) to come. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Marker Faces

My grandson has a thing about markers. Loves them. They feel good on his face.

The top photo is from two years ago. Check out the look on his mother's face.

The photo at right is from last week.  He and his sister were being witches.

As the angel in my upcoming book would say, "Ah, childrens!"

Sunday, July 5, 2009

That Harry Bliss

No, not Barry Blitt. Harry Bliss. BLISS.

I am a huge fan of Harry Bliss with his crazy, funny, mind and brilliant drawings and hilarious video clips. He did the above cover for Heartbeat and also the cover for Replay:

(The blurriness is my faulty picture taking, not Harry's. The image is actually much crisper than my rendering here.)

Harry also did the cover and all illustrations for A Fine, Fine School, which contains one of my all-time favorite Bliss illustrations. The school children have just been told they will have school on Saturdays and Sundays and holidays and all summer long, every single day.

Cover of A Fine, Fine School

You may know him from his covers and cartoons for The New Yorker. Brilliant! We are fortunate in that our regional newspaper carries Bliss's syndicated cartoons. Does your paper have them, too? (Again, the blurriness is mine, sorry, sorry.)

Finally, for today anyway, Harry Bliss is on Facebook and YouTube, where you can access his 100+ video clips.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

It's a cool (weatherwise) Saturday here on Lake Chautauqua. Neighbors are gathering firewood for bonfires tonight. Later they will line up flares along the beach for the traditional lighting of the flares at 10:00 pm. The tradition is so well-established that there will be a ring of red flares burning at that hour, outlining the shores of this 20-mile-long lake, and fireworks will be blasting from four or five towns so that you can look in any direction and see the bright displays. 
We used to sit on the dock to watch . . . until a neighbor's fireworks began pinging us on our heads.

Maybe we will sit up on the porch instead.  Sounds a bit less thrilling but it looks quaint and cozy, mm? Well, yes, it is, except for
the bats . . .

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tap Shoes

Thursday, 2 July, 2009

I couldn't help it. Walking by a discount shoe store, I spotted these through the window. Tap shoes! I felt dizzy. I was pulled toward them. In a box, right there, my granddaughter's size. I bought them. She will flip!

How much I would have loved a pair of tap shoes when I was young. I would've tapped and tapped my way around the neighborhood.