The Friday Five!

1. Finally, it’s Friday. But seriously, between my kid catching yet ANOTHER bug at preschool and getting super sick, followed by a 24-hour trip to MD to do some school visits for my cousins, Wednesday felt like the end of the workweek to me. Which makes today…Sunday? Oh, who even knows. Friday for real, God only knows what in my brain. But I am here and that is what counts. Or that’s what I’m telling myself.

2. I haven’t done school visits in YEARS, other than quick ones here in Chapel Hill. But my cousins Eric, Wiley and Elise had been asking me to come visit their classes for ages, and Teen Read Week seemed like a great time to do it. (As far as any time with a recently deceased dog and sick kid can be great. It’s all relative.) So on Tuesday morning, I caught a quick flight and headed first to a fifth grade class, where the kids were GREAT and funny and asked the best questions ever. Like, “Where do blurbs come from?” and “Which of your characters do you wish you could be?”. These are two I have NEVER before been asked, which is saying something, because I’ve been answering questions about my books and writing in general for years. Then it was onto the middle school, where I spoke the entire eighth grade—300 kids—and did a writing workshop afterwards with a smaller group, which I LOVED:

The bigger kids had more specific questions. Like, ‘How much to you make?” I told them NOYB.They said, “Ballpark! Just ballpark!” *snort* I was also asked if I needed a bodyguard to travel with me. Um, no. But wouldn’t THAT be cool? Anyway, it was total fun to do and to see my cousins, who are still, in my mind, tiny babies in diapers, not even old enough to be walking, much less in middle school. Time flies, folks. If you don’t think so, you’re not paying attention.

3. Seriously, though, the teachers at that middle school? Who can deal with 300 restless, squirmy teens and make them quiet? They are SUCH rock stars. I kept thinking of them that night at my hotel, when I was watching the Presidential Debate. Politics aside, neither candidate was exhibiting good listening skills when it came to the moderator asking them to stop talking. I kept thinking of those teachers from earlier in the, the death look they could shoot across a huge room that would silence a rowdy group of boys in mere seconds. THEY are the ones who should be running the debates, if not the country. They do NOT mess around. My heroes.

4. I came home from my trip to find my husband and daughter had made a run to Party City for Halloween stuff. First things I saw were pretty tame: matching Viking hats, a nurse cap, a clown horn. Then I spotted the bloody cleaver and big plastic ax. I was like, “Do you really think this is a appropriate for a five year old?” He just looked at me, the same way he does when I won’t jump an apartment pool fence to go swimming with him, or want to come home from our date night out at 7:30 so I can put on my pajamas. “It’s HALLOWEEN,” he said. Which I guess makes fake, bloodied implements of death a-okay. Didn’t get that memo. But then again, I am uptight. It’s proven and known and just How it Is. But really, a bloody cleaver? What happened to throwing a sheet over your head and calling yourself a ghost?

5. I’m writing this JUST after returning from a trip to the NC Zoo in Asheboro. It was my daughter’s first time, and she—and we, to be fully honest—were SO excited. It’s a huge zoo and she’s a small kid, so we only got to hit the Africa Pavilion before calling it a day. But it was enough. There is something so awesome about seeing wild animals right up close, as opposed to on TV or in books. She loves her giraffe George, and giraffes in general, so I was really hoping we’d get a good glimpse. At first they were far off, but then one came closer. And closer. Until..

It was like he knew how much we needed to see him. (Or her. Not sure how to tell the gender.) There are moments when you just need to be in awe, and this was one of them. I was glad we all got to do it together. Now: bring on the weekend, for real!

Have a great one, everyone!