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.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My First-Place Picture Theme: Toys

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One of Adam's 3rd place photos

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Shopping, Snowstorm, Car Problems, etc.

Well, I'm completely overwhelmed with Christmas preparations. The morning after Photo Club (I got a first and a second place ribbon and Adam got two thirds and an HM!), I drove to my sister's, about a three-and-a-half-hour drive. We spent a few days shopping, so that's almost done. Unfortunately, we seemed to find ourselves in scrapbook stores as much as in other stores!

My sister, Kay, rode back with me Wednesday. About an hour from home, the steering wheel started jerking back and forth and the van started to pull to the right. I knew that if it were out of line, it would pull to one side, but I never had it happen all of a sudden like that. We stopped in Dayton for the Photo Club Board meeting, and one of the guys drove the van and thought we could make it home. Turned out one of the belts in the tire on the driver's side in front broke. So that meant two new tires.

That book advance is going pretty fast, with that, the brakes I had fixed last month and the $285 to fix the gas leak the day before I left. Actually I had two leaks, one in the water heater and one in the furnace. I really think that's what caused my bronchitis. Went to the ER for that the Sunday before I left, but the antibiotic didn't do a thing. I think now it was allergic bronchitis, caused by the gas. Then I was at Kay's for five days, and her husband smokes, so that irritated it. I think it's getting better now that I'm home with no gas or smoke.

We're under a Winter Storm Warning, but we have a birthday party this afternoon, which is why Kay came home with me. Her great grandson, who is my great-great-grand-nephew, is three years old. We're going to Burger King for the party and see how many people make it. We have about four inches now, but they've predicted anywhere from six-twelve. Will post pictures of the party and the snow later.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Steve's Award

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The Cake

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Photos from Birders' Banquet

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Another Busy Week

It's been another busy week. I spent all day Sunday doing a year of the Birders scrapbook so we could display it at the Banquet on Tuesday. I subbed in fifth grade on Monday and Tuesday. Monday night I made a scrapbook page to frame with a poem in it. The four of us on the committee for the Birders Club Banquet decided one of the guys, Steve, deserved a special award because he has planned all the programs and field trips for ten years and done a great job. So we had my sister, Kay Reall, write a poem about him (she writes poems to order), and I printed it out and embellished it with bird stickers and pictures of him. We decorated after school on Tuesday, and the Banquet went very well. We had a catered meal and the food was delicious. This was the tenth anniversary of the Club.

Wednesday I was supposed to take Carson to a preschool program at the Nature Center, but Mandy called early that morning and said she had to cancel it because she was sick. So I had some free time. Went to lunch buffet at Pizza Hut with Jan. My editor for the Pioneer book called and went over the contract with me. He assured me I'll get the first half of the advance in 2006. That way half will be this year and half next. Better for income tax purposes, although it's not a huge amount. He said the book will be in all the big bookstores, and there is an escalating royalty clause, so I'll get more royalties after it sells 15,000 copies. I'm hoping to get more booksignings with it in bookstores. Also want to do more school visits. Paid ones!

Thursday I subbed in fourth grade. I started feeling like I was really getting a cold. By yesterday morning, I felt pretty bad, but I had agreed to do an author program on writing books for a friend's third grade class and two other classes. Just one presentation. I was losing my voice when I got to the end, but they were a great audience. They listened quietly and asked good questions. I didn't even get the usual three: How old are you? How much money do you make? Is it more fun to be an author than a teacher? I went and bought cold medicine and came home and went to bed. Steve called at 5:00 with a Bird Alert. He'd seen a Northern Shrike in his fence row. Regina and I went out on our way to dinner, but it flew as we were walking back to look through his scope and he couldn't locate it again. So we went on to dinner with Jan and Mary.

Don't you hate it when your nose is so plugged up you have to breathe through your mouth and your throat gets so dry it's sore? I finally found out if I slept on two foam wedges and two pillows (essentially sitting up) my nose would drain and I could breathe. I'm just staying home today and tomorrow, trying to get over this.

I'm busy baking cookies for Photo Club. We've been averaging about 75 people a meeting, so I need to make enough for 80. I'm making about eight kinds of cookies, including my famous sour cream cookies and my white chocolate-covered pretzels.

I also need to work on my students' ICL lessons.

Off to work!

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