Pat McCarthy is the author of a dozen nonfiction books for children and young adults. She has published numerous stories, articles, puzzles and quizzes in magazines for children and adults. She teaches for the Institute of Children's Literature. She has also written encyclopedia articles and school curriculum. Pat is a retired elementary school teacher who subs to remain in touch with kids. Her hobbies are photography, travel, birding and scrapbooking.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

You Mean It's Supposed to Be a HAND Dryer?

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Lynn Dries her Camera

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Purple-Edged Mushrooms

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I LOVE Red Leaves!

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Fall Foliage

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Looking Up in Pine Forest

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In the Pine Forest

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Preacher's-Eye View of church

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Our Campsite at Top 'o the Caves Campground

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Camping and Photography at Hocking Hills State Park

Gee, it's been a long time since I've written. I guess I've been busy. I've been doing some subbing, mostly in sixth grade, which I like. Today was in fourth grade, and that's okay, too. I just don't want to go to the building that has 700+ kids from Kindergarten-2nd grades! I like the older ones, and those are the ones I like to write for, too.

The biggest thing I've done lately was the camping trip with six other members of the Photo Club. We went to Hocking Hills State Park on Wednesday, October 17. The weather was warm for this time of year, in the seventies in the daytime and fifties at night. We all slept in tents. I learned that I have no trouble with the new tents. The doors are about five feet high, so you barely need to bend over to get in and out. I have trouble with the old ones where the door is only three feet high. My knees won't let me crawl in, and I can't bend that far with my back problem. So these were great. My friend Tim rode down with me, and we met Ken, Terry, Lynn, Kathy and Tom there. The first night we had a weiner roast and sat around the campfire talking and taking pictures.

When we got up Thursday morning, it was pretty gray-looking, but we decided to take a chance and hike to Rose Lake. According to the sign, it's a half-mile hike. Most of the signs seem to say that. I think they don't want you to get discouraged and not go on the hikes! It started raining soon after we set out from the parking lot, but the way led through woods and a huge pine forest, which kept most of the rain off us for awhile. When we finally got to the lake, all we did was huddle under the trees and wait for it to stop raining, which it never did. So we decided to leave. I had on one of plastic ponchos that comes in the little bag you can never get it back into. My head was sweating, so I took off the hood. I figured if my hair was going to be soaked, I'd rather have it wet with nice clean rain than sweat! Water was streaming off my hair by the time we got back to the cars. We decided to go to the Lodge and eat lunch and get out of the rain. Lynn and I used the hand dryers in the rest room to dry our hair and cameras. By the time we finished with the buffet lunch, the sun was out. We hiked Conkle's Hollow, another half-mile hike, in the afternoon. It seemed further, but when you stop every couple of minutes to photograph a stump, a mushroom, or some colored leaves or rock formations, it takes awhile. The coolest thing of the day was a group of purple-rimmed mushrooms growing on a log. We had dinner at the campgrounds again. Tim and I made foil dinners in the campfire with hamburger, potatoes, onions and carrots. They were pretty good. We hadn't been in bed very long when it started to rain again. There were forecasts of severe thunderstorms. We got a little thunder and lightning, but I lay there and counted the seconds between the flash of lightning and the thunder and it was never less than twenty seconds. Didn't bother me, since I knew it was far away. I love lying in the tent, listening to the rain beating on the roof.

Friday morning we got up and the rain had stopped. Tim and I had thought of going up to Amish Country in Holmes County with Lynn and Terry, but Lynn decided it wasn't that nice a day and it was a long drive, so we stayed around the park. We went back to Rose Lake, but only Tim went all the way down to the lake. Lynn, Terry, Kathy and I shot around the pine forest. It's a beautiful place. Then Kathy, Tim and I went to shoot a little church across from the campgrounds. A man came over and asked if we'd like to see the inside, so he unlocked it and we took pictures in there. We were supposed to meet at the Lodge at 1:00 for lunch. As we finished shooting, I asked Tim what time it was, and it was already 1:00! So we were almost half an hour late, but nobody minded. They know what happens when you're out shooting! In the afternoon, Lynn and Terry started home, Ken and Tom went off on their own, and Tim, Kathy and I shot scenes of fall foliage from the road. Between Wednesday and Friday it had gone from sparse color to brilliant red and gold foliage. Had sandwiches at the Lodge and enjoyed another campfire.

Saturday we had to take down the tent and drive to the zoo in Columbus, where the Club had a shoot. The zoo photographer was to talk to us about zoo photography. Marilyn took Adam, so I wouldn't have to go back home and get him. His dad took him to Dayton. We were on the cell phone to people at the zoo and they told us if we went in with the photographer, we could get in free. On the third call, Vickie said, "We're going in right now!" We were still 15 minutes away, so figured we'd have to pay. We decided it was worth a try to tell the woman at the gate that we were with the group that went in with the photographer, and it worked. She let us in free. We did miss the photographer's talk, but we found Adam within a few minutes. He had a great time shooting with my camera. I really have to find a used digital SLR for him, so we can both shoot at once! I didn't get any fabulous shots there, but it was a fun day. We were all pretty exhausted by the time we left the zoo, after walking around for eight hours.

On the writing front, I'm still teaching the two courses for ICL, which gives me a number of lessons to do each week. I'm waiting to hear about the pioneer book. Last week I got an e-mail from a woman who wants people to write testing passages and questions betweeen November 1 and December 1. My friend, Suzanne Lieurance, recommended me to her. I wrote that I was interested, but haven't heard back. That would be a little extra money for Christmas.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Adam's Prize-winning Photo!

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Madison at Adam's Game

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Adam at Farmer Brown's

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Busy Week- Prairie Days, Photo Club and subbing

It's been a pretty busy week. Last weekend was our annual Prairie Days at the Darke County Parks Nature Center. I spent the whole weekend working in the gift shop. Saturday I wore a long prairie dress, but I got so hot with the long sleeves and high neck, that I just wore jeans and a nice shirt on Sunday. There were lots of cool things going on, but I didn't get to see any of them. Tours of the log house, apple-butter making, tours of the new sugar shack, guided walks, crafts, an art show, wagon rides, an antique tractor exhibit, and more.

On Monday, I went for volunteer training at the Nature Center. Robb, one of the naturalists, is training volunteers to lead school groups on hikes. Evelyn, Connie, Margaret, Autumn and I were there. Left early to go to Dee's dad's funeral, but I couldn't find it! I knew he was at Zechar's Funeral Home, but when I got there, no one was there. I figured it must be at their church, but didn't know where they went. Called Kay on the cell phone to see if she could look up the obit online. She wasn't home. By the time I came home and found out where it was (right out by the funeral home!) it was too late to go. So I just stayed home. Had dinner at Bob Evans with Marge and Regina.

Tuesday I had to sub in the afternoon in fifth grade math. Marge called and said she had fallen the night before and asked if I could take her to the doctor. I couldn't, because of the subbing. It went well, although I'm not up on 5th grade math. It's changed a lot since I taught 5th grade, twenty-some years ago. Went over to let Adam try to get a better picture for competition of the dog next door with one blue eye and one brown eye. It was hard, but he did get a good one, along with one of a Brutus Buckeye doll with big eyes and a clown with big sad eyes. That was a picture hanging on their wall. Came home, then went to his game. They lost. Heather and the babies were there, so I got some pictures.

Wednesday I subbed again in the afternoon at the same school, this time for sixth grade language arts. It was an easy day. Had to be there by 11, because you have to be there 31/2 hours to get paid for half a day. But she had a plan period next, then I had ten minutes duty in the hall outside the cafeteria, when I just talked to the kids and made sure they weren't rowdy, then 45 minutes for lunch. Then I had just one class! It was a double period, but there were only 18 in the class, and three were absent. Picked Adam up after school and we went to Farmer Brown's to eat, then to my house to print out his pictures. Did the clown in B&W and 11x16.

On Thursday I took Marge to the beauty shop. She has a big black eye, but she didn't break any bones in either wrist. The right one is swollen and she has a brace on it. Ate lunch at the Fairlawn with Woodland Heights retirees, then went back and picked Marge up. Did four ICL lessons and mailed them, then picked Adam up. Came home and Thelma was here waiting for us to go to Photo Club. I drove. Ate at Appleby's as usual, but no one else showed up. Went to Club. Adam got his first ribbon, and he really started out with a bang! His clown picture got a first place and it got 24 points out of a possible 27! Everyone was amazed that he was the one who took it! I got a second on a train picture from Quaker Square in Akron and HM on a close-up of a Cooper's hawk in Canada. Went to Rooster's afterwards, and there were over 20 there. Didn't get home until 2. Adam slept all the way home.

Overslept! I guess I set my alarm for 6:20 PM instead of AM! Woke up at 7:05, and Adam was supposed to be at the bus at 7:15! He got right up and dressed and brushed his teeth. Gave him applesauce and toast for breakfast, and we got to the Junior High at 7:20. The bus to take them to the high school wasn't there yet, so we were okay. I went to the Nature Center and Connie and I helped with and observed a hike with sixth graders from Franklin Monroe. Tonight we ate at Longfellow's Shadows restraurant. It's good. Then I picked up the babies from the ball diamond. Brandon had a doubleheader, and Heather didn't want them out after dark when it gets damp because of Madison's allergies. When I pulled into the parking lot, Madison clapped and yelled, "Yay!!!!" They were home by 9. Carson conked out on the couch about half an hour after I got them home.

So that's the week in review! I have nothing scheduled for all weekend! Plenty to do, but nothing scheduled.

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