August 27, 2008

Life Is A Verb Blog Tour support

(This edition of But Wait, There's More! is especially geared towards fellow fans of Patti Digh's work who are planning to serve as hosts for the Life Is A Verb Blog Tour. If all of that means nothing to you, you might want to just scroll on down or stop back tomorrow. Unless you're counting down to something exciting in your life, in which case you might be able to make use of this information after all.)

Hey there, fellow LIAV Blog Tour participants! I have recently created a LIAV blog tour countdown widget for my blog (scroll down to the bottom of this entry if you want to see how it came out), and if you'd like to add one to your blog, the instructions follow below.

Image: 'Frames' on Flickr by João Moura

1) Scout your location. (Figure out where on your blog you're going to place your widget. It'll be helpful to have a sense of the dimensions of the available space.) And save a back-up version of your template BEFORE making any changes, just in case you have to revert back to it. (Which you may want to do once the Blog Tour has passed you by and your countdown counter is at zero, for example.)

2) Commit to a time and date for your stop on Patti's blog tour. (Countdowns require a specific end point.) (You and Patti are in agreement about your date, right?)

3) Leave a browser window or tab open somewhere with this post while you work, so you'll be able to copy and paste the urls from step six.

4) In a new browser window or tab, head on over to

5) Click on the button that says, "Edit Event."

6) In the first two fields (Date & Time), enter the data relevant to your day on the LIAV blog tour.

In the field labeled, "Event Name or Image URL" copy and paste this url:

In the field labeled, "Link url," copy and paste this url:

Then hit "Save" and you'll see the first draft of your widget.

7) Drag the bottom right-hand corner of your widget until you get the countdown clock to the dimensions you think will work on your blog.

8) There should be a small cluster of three editing buttons at the top right of your widget. Click on the left hand button to play around with the color scheme if you like. (I left mine basic black.) Then click the middle button, which looks like a downward arrow, to select "Copy Me."

9) Clicking on the first symbol in the resulting graphic (a circle with a plus sign in it) will generate the embed code you need for your countdown widget.

10) Copy that code. Open up your blog's template, and paste the code on in where you would ordinarily paste an html sidebar widget. Hit save, cross your fingers, re-open your blog, and let me know how it works!

Congratulations on being a part of this exciting work, and don't forget to include the following things in your actual September Blog Tour post:

1. Please include a link to 37days (

2. Please include a link to Patti's online electronic press kit at, where your readers can find a lot more info on the book.

3. Please mention any upcoming book signings, in case you have readers in those areas. You should be able to get up-to-date information at

4. For extra credit, write a review of the book and post it over at B&N online or Amazon.

(PS: How cool is that photo by João Moura?
Anyone know the name of the artist?
Those of us who are serving as way stations
on the Life Is A Verb Blog Tour
have some kinship with those frames,
it seems to me.
If you need tech support, let me know
in the comments, and I'll try to help.)

Spider and Back-To-School haiku

Image: "Aelse #7" on Flickr: Josef Stufer

every night somehow
the front door spider and I
forget each other

Image: "Do I Need to Know?" on Flickr: Jan Egil Kristiansen

turning leaves,
back-to-school sales

the same new colors

* * * * *

first day of school
long minutes at the mirror

even teachers

(Most months I write a haiku or two
to submit to the monthly author-judged kukai
over at HaikuWorld.
This month that first spider haiku
received nine points, putting it in 12th place.
The haiku immediately before mine (also w/ 9 points)
is by Kala Ramesh, a woman whose 'ku
I often admire. So I am pleased.)

August 24, 2008

On Foot

(Many thanks to sweet K,
who took this picture of me
looking up at the sky and thinking,
"Another beautiful day in Scotland!")

One of the big decisions that confronted us once we committed to traveling to Scotland was whether or not to rent a car. The golfers would presumably be riding around together, but what about the non-golfing spouses in the bunch? Having no clear sense of the public transportation options and typically American in my desire for transportational self-determination, I decided to go ahead and rent a car. But although I did my share of driving in Scotland, it was the walking that I'll really remember.

We read up on the weather and packed accordingly... lots of turtlenecks and other things that could be easily layered in case of chill. So I was almost completely unprepared for the gorgeous string of long (15-hours of sunlight) sun-washed days that awaited us. The golfers golfed. (Seven rounds in all for Terri.) And the rest of us hiked all over the place.

From our little red star in Anstruther, we hiked the ocean cliff trail to Pittenweem and beyond several times. (The green space immediately to the south of town is the Anstruther golf course, which was within easy walking distance of the Great Lodging). (You can click on that map to enlarge it if you prefer to actually be able to READ your maps.) Some folks trekked all the way up to Crail one day. And in Edinburgh we walked and walked.

(Notations differ from our actual walks;
map lifted from Frommer's.)

Of course the golfers walked even more than we did. Check out this aerial shot of the courses at St. Andrews (several of which were "in play" by our golfers during the trip.)

No wonder we found it easy to sleep in. Bright Scottish sunshine or no.

(We had SOME rain. And I think I did
"layer up" a bit one one coolish day.
But all in all, we saw a lot more of Scotland
on foot than I ever expected to,
and I left wanting to come back and explore some more.
In other news, the online photo album of the trip
now includes some more great pictures from our
travelling companions!)

August 21, 2008


Sara Groves, via Jen Lemen (about 4 minutes):

There is one boat. We are all in it.

(In other news, on Sept. 21st, one month from today,
essayist and author Patti Digh will make a stop
here at But Wait, There's More!
as part of her book's blog tour.
You're not going to want to miss it.
Also, you should go buy the book.
If you're a friend of mine and don't love it,
I'll refund your money. For real.)

August 19, 2008

Time in Scotland

Because of Scotland's northern latitude, our days there were long ones. (About 15 hours of daylight every day.) The effect was heightened by our relative lack of plugged-in-ness. Our American cellphones were useless overseas and remained turned off, waiting for the moment when our plane homeward would touch down in Newark. The Great Lodging, where we stayed, had no apparent phone service of its own. There was an internet cafe in town, but I didn't use a computer once (!), and I think Terri only went in to check and see if she'd made the lottery list for the Old Course.

The hardest things about parenting for me have been the responsibilities from which there is no escape. When your child calls for you from his bed, you get up. If it gets to be 10pm on a school night and you suddenly realize you haven't made a lunch yet, it doesn't matter how tired you are. There has to be a lunch. If your small person's bedtime is 8pm, then someone has to be in the house with him from that point onward. We've never quite seen our way clear to paying for a sitter just so we could go walking after dark.

But in Scotland, with the D-man safely tucked under his aunt and uncle's wings way over in Maryland, we could sleep in as late as we liked. And stay up as late as we liked. And mosey on home from the fish & chip place on the harbor whenever it seemed appropriate. I took this picture as we turned and headed "home" one evening. And I have no idea what time it was.

(More pictures,
in case you hadn't noticed,
are over here.)

August 18, 2008

Life on the other side

We did it. Thanks to some outstanding planning on my friends' K&S part and our own intrepid natures, our trip to the Kingdom of Fife in Scotland was a fabulous adventure from start to finish. I spent no time before the trip thinking about what was probably the most challenging aspect of the trip... the fact that renting a car in Scotland meant that I was about to embark on a week of driving on the left, sitting on the right, and shifting with my left! But despite the dire warnings from the folks at the car rental desk ("Call this number if you run into a curb and get a flat tire, call this number if you're in an accident, and we'll just be holding a $1000 pound surety on your account in case of any damages."), I drove all over the place without too much trouble. (Occasional lurches into first gear when I was aiming for third notwithstanding.)

I've uploaded a bunch of our pictures from the trip at, and will try to post a few stories over the coming days here.

It was great to go, and it's good to be back.

August 08, 2008


Yes, an auspicious day here at Auntie Camp... and no wonder! Did you know that eight is my favorite number?

The campers were smiling. (Okay, they were smiling because I told them to, but still.)

Individually, these are some excellent children:

But it's the getting them together that has made this week so fantastic:

Here are the official Auntie Camp traditions (because the campers are talking about next year as if it's a done deal):

First night tradition ~
Woodrow Wilson School Pool in whatever you've got on.

Last night tradition ~
Dinner at Stewarts

(Many thanks to my sister and brother-out-law
for allowing us to scoop up their girls for a whole week.
And to the Princeton Friends School Summer Camp
for giving each of them such wonderful times
in community, in the woods, and at the swim quarry.)

August 05, 2008

My Kind of Activism

This video is about 4.5 minutes long, and describes a win-win form of internet-enabled environmental activism. I love this stuff.

August 01, 2008

Lessons From Camp, 2008

Bring a friend.

Our boy has loved this boy like a brother for as long as he can remember. This was our third year of having JT & his mama "along for the ride," and both the boys and the mamas wouldn't have had it any other way. Bringing a friend along means having someone to say, "Remember when..." to.

Bring books.
Books are perfect travel companions. They're quiet and compact. And no matter where you go, they can take you to yet another wondrous place. (Disclaimer: books shown here are being read at the Hilltop Inn in Niantic, CT, en route to camp. Reading in camp is also eminently possible.)

Share the work.
This year, more than any, the jobs we gave D to do before, during, and after our trip were real jobs. Turns out he is a terrific rope untangler, kayak stuffer, water fetcher, ice purchaser, tent cleaner, and even sandwich maker. That last one was his idea. Lucky moms, we are.

Define civilization on your own terms.
When we tell people that our idea of heaven is two weeks of tent camping in North Truro, MA, the reactions are interesting. Some people seem a little envious, while others shake their heads, saying, "I could never do that." But really, what could be more civilized than a morning bike ride to the local cafe? The way we see it, coffee + today's NYT = civilization. Birdsong and ocean breezes provided at no extra charge.

Turn the treats into traditions.
At home, we are a relatively low-sugar family, at least as far as breakfast goes. In camp, I take orders each morning before I head off to the village cafe. When I almost balked at buying elephant ears two days in a row, my partner wisely said, "It's not a treat. It's a tradition." His bliss proves the point. (We used to get special food while on vacation, too, now that I think about it. Thanks, Mom!)

Make something special
with your own two hands.

(We made ourselves all manner of bracelets
and felt quite fancy!)

Cherish the earth.

Make friends with the ocean.

Enjoy whatever weather comes your way.
It's hard to feel trapped in the tent when you're playing endless rounds of Underpants Uno! He was the champion, of course. And was even a tiny bit disappointed when the rain let up.

(Until he discovered the joys of deep puddle riding!)

And leave some sand
for the next camper.

(Thank you so much to Grammy & Grampy,
Aunt Chelle, Nancy Bea, Wendy Cook, Van,
and others
for helping to bring a little special delivery joy
to our lives at camp this year.

Only 332 days until Camping 2009!)