The Friday Five!

1. Okay, I know that I say this every Friday, but this week has been CRAZY. For all the regular reasons—two dogs recovering from surgeries with a billion pills to force down them each morning, Teacher Appreciation Week at preschool, the day-to-day chaos—but also because on Wednesday, I flew up to Chicago for a do-over for a school visit that I was scheduled to do during the paperback tour for WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE. It was at Granger School in Aurora, which was closed on the day I supposed to come back in April because the roads were all flooded from a crazy bunch of rain. People, honestly: I have never had such a nice welcome in my LIFE. We pulled up and the girls were all waiting, waving ruler flags with pictures of my books. They gave me flowers and CHEERED as I walked up to the front doors. I mean, HELLO! How often does that happen? Then, in the media center, they had ALL my favorite things waiting for me:

Yes, that IS Sriracha Chips, Hershey’s Special Dark with Almonds nuggets, and Carolina Blue cupcakes. Also pics of GMA and my beloved Tarheels. Do they know me, or what? The visit itself was GREAT, the girls were so amazing and asked incredible questions, and the staff and teachers made me so grateful there are such amazing people teaching in our public schools. Yeah, it was pretty much an all-on lovefest. Here’s a collage that the fabulous librarian who set ALL this up, Ms. White, made:

Bottom line: I felt loved. BIG TIME.

2. In other exciting news, this week I was finally able to share this SUPER big secret I’ve been having to keep for a few weeks now. Regular readers of this blog—especially those who were with me all the way back at LiveJournal—will remember how obsessed I was with the show Veronica Mars when it was on. I watched every season, swooned over Logan Echolls and was basically pushing it on everyone I met, insisting they join the cult with me. (So to speak.) Then I was one of MANY people who contributed to the Kickstarter to fund the VM movie, which I am so excited about I pretty much can’t even stand it. So imagine how I felt when I found out that I’d been invited to speak at the Austin Teen Book Festival in September with none other than Rob Thomas, who CREATED the show. WHOA. (I actually didn’t believe it until I saw it on the official website, but look, here it is.) Anyway, I’m SO excited both to read Rob’s YA book RATS SAW GOD and talk with him about books IF I can even look at him without dying of fangirling. We’ll see how that goes.

3. The other big thing happening around these parts this weekend is graduation at UNC, as well at NC State AND Duke. It is a weekend of caps and gowns and out of state license plates and crowded restaurants, as well as feeling of both accomplished and bittersweet. Two of my rock star babysitters are graduating, one to graduate school and the other to a great job, so I am so happy for them, but sad for us because they will be SO missed. It is the downside of hiring college girls and considering them family: they always have to move on. I won’t be attending graduation this weekend at Carolina—in fact, I will be avoiding campus and downtown like the plague, as we locals do—but I will take a moment on Sunday morning to wish the class of 2013 well. What a big adventure to be beginning. Hang on!

4. Also happening this weekend: Mother’s Day. Is it weird that I still associate this day with MY mom, as well as my mother-in-law and my husband’s grandmother, and don’t think about myself at all? I guess a habit of 37 years is hard to break. Which means I’ve been rushing around today getting gifts together, planning how to wrap them, and generally forgetting totally that I, too, am a mother. (Which is shocking, considering that this morning my kid put this crazy beaded necklace on me, which I forgot about until I was out at Sam’s Club, looked down, and discovered I was still wearing it. Whoops.) I’m sure my husband and daughter have something planned, but honestly I got the best gift already today, when my kid looked at me and said, “You look beautiful, pretty face.” I mean, come ON. Who needs a card when you have that?

5. Finally, I have to share this one last thing about my IL school visit. During this paperback tour—and whenever I do events—I love to do Q&A. It’s MUCH more fun than me just babbling on, although I can totally babble, it’s like a strength of mine. But questions are more fun all around. I can usually count on getting the same ones each place, like, “Where do you get your ideas?” (Everywhere and anywhere) and “What’s your favorite book you’ve written?” (Can’t pick, but have a soft spot for This Lullaby) and “What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a writer?” (Read and write as much as you can). Every once in awhile, however, I get one I haven’t heard before, and that happened yesterday at Granger Middle. This girl raised her hand and said, “If you had to pick one of your boy characters for your daughter to date, who would it be?” And I was STUMPED. My daughter? She’s only 5! She won’t be dating until she’s 30 at least (if my husband has any say it it, anyway). But still, I had to answer. The easiest reply was “Not Rogerson from Dreamland,” but that’s sort of cheating, so I really thought on it. In the end, I went with Wes from THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER, because I would want her to be with someone who didn’t expect or even want her to be perfect. But really, Dexter or Owen or Dave or Nate…they’d all be just fine with me. I mean, what mom WOULDN’T want to have hand-created the boy their daughter went out with? Sadly, I don’t think this will be an actual option when my kid is older, unless science comes a LONG way. Luckily, I still have some time. Although it is flying. Hug your mother this weekend! She probably needs it.


Have a great weekend, everyone!