ewein2412: (sara for obama)

Ever since Tuesday’s #VoterRegistrationDay in the USA, the YA community has been partnered with Rock the Vote to launch a week or more of #firstvote16 videos. John Green and Hank Green have been very vocal in encouraging and educating young voters – Hank Green has a huge video project going in which he explains how to vote in all fifty states – Thank you, Hank @hankgreen!

Here’s Hank’s intro video

And here he explains how to vote in every state.

And here, also, is John Green, responding directly to his viewers’ comments saying why they might not vote and encouraging them to do so.

I too encourage you to vote! You can register to vote here. It's easy!

For those of you, like ME, who aren’t currently at home on US soil, you can register to vote by absentee ballot HERE through the Federal Voter Assistance Program. It’s really easy these days – you can opt to receive your absentee ballot electronically. (I used to have to put a note on my calendar twice a year to remind myself to send them a formal snail mail letter requesting an absentee ballot!)

If you’re already registered, make your own video about your first time! Just tag two friends, link them to www.rockthevote.com/register-to-vote, and use #firstvote16.

I’m tagging Ashley Hope Pérez, author of the devastating Printz Honor book Out of Darkness, and Amber Lough, author of the YA fantasy novels The Fire Wish and the The Blind Wish.

And if I could, I’d tag my grandmother Betty Flocken, who barely missed an election in her 80 years of voting. The picture is from her book Maggie: Adventures of an Airedale.

Vote! It is your duty as an American! :D


Jun. 27th, 2010 11:30 pm
ewein2412: (Default)
my grandmother's next-door-neighbor is 95 this week (I forget the exact date). She had a party this weekend.

That is Nancy in the middle--on the left (Nancy's right) is Polly, and Gramma is on the right (Nancy's left). Gramma was 94 a couple of weeks ago--Polly is also 94. All three of them went to high school together! (sorry the quality's not better--my aunt sent it to me via her phone).

There's a picture of the three of them on Gramma's 90th birthday in 2006 here
ewein2412: (E Wein age 7)
I put this project on hold 9 months ago because I couldn't find any 3x3 inch frames that cost less than £40 each. Today, in my neverending quest for ancient ballpoint pens, I came across a couple of vintage frames EXACTLY the right size, in the Dog Shelter Charity Shop, and they cost 30 p each (about 45 cents). So now I am inspired to post the pictures here, too. This is Gramma and Grampa in, I believe, the summer of 1959, which makes them 43 years old. My age (actually, a little bit younger).

I have 2 comments:

1) I have not been able to hula hoop since I was about 25. Gramma is amazing.

2) My grandfather was the HANDSOMEST MAN IN THE WORLD.

I am sure he is drinking a gin & tonic and reading the New York Times Magazine.

At the same time I scanned these photos I also did this one:

This was taken in 1943. It is four generations of Saylor/Berger women. The baby is my mother, Carol. Gramma is on the left, at 27. Next to her is Rosie, her grandmother. Gramma's mother, Mae, is on the right.

I love love love this picture.


when I showed it to my brother-in-law, the first question he asked was, "Where are the men? Are they all at war?" In fact none of them are at war. I come from a family of draft-dodgers on both sides, although to be fair to my grandfather and great-grandfather, etc., most of them were way too old to be going to war, and my grandfather was a minister. He applied for his army chaplaincy a bit too late to actually have to go. My brother-in-law's comment: "Well, he should have done it 5 years earlier when the war started, shouldn't he?"

I smiled sweetly. We are AMERICAN, after all.

God's truth, I HADN'T MENTIONED THE WAR. I don't go LOOKING for these fights.
ewein2412: (Knight of Wands 2)

"When was the last time a presidential candidate campaigned from a train? Betty Flocken, 91, remembered seeing Wendell Wilkie roll into Lancaster, and she had heard him speak. Mrs. Flocken turned out for Senator Obama, as indeed did thousands of other Pennsylvanians."
                           --Mayhill Fowler in the Huffington Post 

That's my gramma!  And she says that Obama is the first presidential candidate she'd be willing to "go to bat for" since Adlai Stevenson.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama & Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey at the Lancaster, PA train station over the weekend

my family in the audience... Gramma flanked by her two daughters (my aunts)

GET OUT THERE AND VOTE, all you Pennsylvanians!  I voted three weeks ago, but they probably won't count mine.


Oct. 4th, 2007 11:06 am
ewein2412: (E Wein age 7)
I have got many visitors including Gramma, who has recovered from her three broken bones of last winter and has made the flight to Scotland once again.  Here I am (on the right) at Elcho Castle, near Perth, with my aunt Kate.  We are picking pears in the ancient orchard.  (The hut in the background is the Historic Scotland gift shop, and the ruin is part of the curtain wall.)

I am busy hostessing but I wanted to let you guys know what a wonderful bunch of friends you are--your birthday wishes over the last couple of days have really made me happy.  Many of them were very unexpected.  As [personal profile] sovay says, "October is the best month EVER."

My absolutely favorite present is from Kate--it is a lion's head pendant (no. 95) cut out of an Ethiopian coin.  I have coveted one of these for many years now.  (This is the same woman who gave me my Heelies last year.)

more later


May. 17th, 2007 03:52 pm
ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))
1) Gramma

I didn't post about Gramma's progress for a while she wasn't making any and it was very discouraging. After what seemed like a phenomenal recovery, 6 weeks after her injury and with her pelvis mostly healed, she suddenly found herself stricken with debilitating and inexplicable pain on the other side of her body. We thought it might be sciatica. After an MRI scan, turns out she actually had two other breaks that the initial x-rays hadn't picked up, one in her hip and one in her tailbone (?) or thereabouts--so they confined her to the walker/zimmer frame and wheelchair for another 6 weeks. She improved very rapidly (again) after that, and 3 weeks later was back to saying, "I'm fine, but they're still making me use this stupid walker." (Apparently, at her last check-up with her GP, she asked permission to start driving again, and the GP accused her of coercion--that's the specialist's department!)

As far as I know she spent last weekend in Richmond with my aunt (her youngest daughter, Kate) and Kate's daughters. Her first big trip since her accident, and it is a big trip, a 5 hour drive. I will have to have a long transatlantic gossip with her soon.

2) Moonwalk Reminder

Me and my team the "Fair City Fillies" are supposed to be in training for the Moonwalk, a sponsored walk to raise money to support breast cancer projects within Scotland. The freaks that I hang out with consider that appropriate "training" for a 13 mile power walk is to go on a 14 mile hillwalk over rough terrain AT THE SAME PACE as the power walk; i.e., if you don't pass out or end up in the hospital with tendonitis you'll be fine for the half-marathon, which will be considerably less difficult than your training. So anyway, I have been training. I will just about recover in time to do the actual half-marathon; donations always gratefully appreciated here , and many thanks to those of you who have made donations in the past. I will keep you posted when the big day arrives!

Everyone's feet hurt last week. Tim has a mysterious infection in his right foot which was so swollen I finally managed to make him go to the doctor, and antibiotics seem to be improving it. Unbelievably, the day before he went, the CAT turned up limping pathetically on 3 legs with a big fat swollen paw, and SHE had to go get antibiotics as well (or whatever it is they give cats). Tim took her; apparently he asked the vet if he could get a shot in his foot, too.

Tim's ridiculous attempt to explain the strange foot maladies going around:

"Your feet are the bellwether of your soul."

3) Perth, the cultural haven at the end of the motorway system

We went to see the Waterboys at the Perth Concert Hall last night. They were fantastic--I didn't actually expect to enjoy the concert as much as I did. I am not real familiar with their recent stuff and had never heard the "Peace of Iona" song or their marvellous setting of Yeats's "The Stolen Child" (painfully topical, too). And--


I love Scotland.

4) Navel Gazing

As far as I am aware The Lion Hunter is on schedule for its 14 June 2007 debut. I know that there are at least two people on my friendslist who claim to be more excited about this book than about HP7 ([livejournal.com profile] marguerlucy said I could quote her on that, so I am). Your reward is…

Somewhere, someone in the dim and distant Internet past (and they probably don't even read this blog) expressed a whimsical desire for a Medraut/Turunesh fanfic. I don't know if it counts as fanfic if the author of the fandom writes it herself, but I have produced a drabble. A DRABBLE! Moi! I wrote it a while ago and was too embarrassed to post it. But what the heck. It is here and here at [livejournal.com profile] rarelitslash. madwoman.


Mar. 8th, 2007 03:35 pm
ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))
1) Ramblings about other people's illustrations of my stuff

Charles Vess has done the illustrations for The Coyote Road, in which I have a story forthcoming called "Always the Same Story." It always stuns me a little when I see a picture that someone else has done which is nevertheless associated with something I have written--I'm never quite prepared for the fact that someone else has actually read and understood my own personal and interior creation. It feels, just a little, as though someone has read my thoughts. And the best pictures are always of scenes that I haven't quite imagined myself, but which are obviously deeply connected to the story.

I love Scott Multer's original cover of The Winter Prince, which ever so subtly and appropriately puts Lleu on the defensive and Medraut on the attack, with Lleu's determined yet impassive expression a contrast to Medraut's furious intensity; and then, Greg Spalenka's more recent cover for the paperback, which is similar to the original but differs in that rather than crossing swords, Lleu and Medraut are struggling for possession of a single sword.

The French and Dutch editions of The Winter Prince are both illustrated, and astonishingly, each, independent of the other, in the first chapter shows Medraut with his back turned, a satchel over his right shoulder, making his way toward Camlan. It's exactly the picture that *I* did for the first chapter.

My reaction to illustrations I don't like is usually, "Well, THAT person hasn't read the book!" rather than, "Oh, you've really misinterpreted that." As long as someone reads the story and understands it, I don't care for toffee how they interpret it. The illustrations in the French edition of The Winter Prince, by Françoise Moreau, are very stylized and cubistic (someone commented that they're actually very "French"). In the general scheme of things the artwork isn't to my taste, but I love them anyway because each one is so fraught with symbolism and design; and if that's the way Moreau perceived my story, well, that's her right as a reader. She certainly was a careful reader. In the first of her pictures, where Medraut is arriving at Camlan, he is looking ahead into a dark hallway lit by a single torch (in the composition the torch finishes a perfect triangle whose other points are his head and his satchel); in the bare lower corner of the page are nine grains of wheat, which are described in the text as littering the dark halls. It just slays me, in one of the later illustrations in the book, that the illustrator gives life to one of Lleu's hallucinations.

I love to have my stories illustrated because these pictures are, in a very concrete way, confirmation that someone has read what I've written. It can be a very cloistered life sometimes, sitting with a computer or a pen all day, and your own mind ticking away.


However, I have Another Life, which includes Weasels and Grandparents. Here is the latest update on the home front:

2) My Grandmother

Gramma is HOME. She went home yesterday--if you've been to Mt. Gretna you know that the downstairs of the house is meant to be disabled-friendly so that my brother can visit. This mostly means that it's wheelchair accessible and we've got a "disabled bathroom" (which fortunately was NOT disabled yesterday; as Gramma reported, "I was so surprised to be able to take a shower--the pipes in there usually freeze when the temperature dips below 20." Clearly, some improvements may be necessary before she spends another winter there on her own…). I don't think she has a wheelchair; she's been working hard at walking, and Medicare will only pay for a walker OR a wheelchair (not both). So. Rugs have been rolled up, there's a hospital bed on hire and set up in the corner by the fireplace (the downstairs is all open-plan), a microwave has been installed, and we're working on better lighting and on rearranging the kitchen.

Gramma always sings the Doxology whenever she comes back into the house after time away, and the first thing she said to me when I called her last night was, "I sang the Doxology SO LOUD!"

3) A Rant Against the UK Children's Clothing Design Mafia

Sara comes home from school and announces sadly, "I'm afraid so-and-so [her so-called best friend at school] is going to force me to get a crop top."

A crop top, I have discovered, is a piece of underwear that mediates between being what they call a vest (a sleeveless undershirt, which all the little kids wear for warmth) and a training bra. The crop top is supposed to be more "grown up" than a vest because it looks like a bra--kinda sorta, apart from the fact that it is designed for people who don't have breasts. Sara thinks they're stupid, and amazingly enough she formed this opinion on her own without any assistance from me, although I don't actually have enough words for "stupid" to tell you what I think of this garment.

Sara is 9. She is about the size and build of your average 7-year-old. She is not going to need a bra for some time.

HOWEVER, they all have to take off their clothes in the gym hall to put on their gym kit, girls and boys TOGETHER; and of course since they've now all had their first unit of sex-ed, they've gone all self-conscious about their bodies, and it's understandable that they want some undergarment to cover up their skeeter bites.

So I told her I'd get her a camisole. Grownups wear camisoles, after all (they don't wear crop tops, to my knowledge, at least not as underwear, and not if they haven't got anything to cover up). I went shopping for camisoles a few days later. Everything on offer was covered in pink ribbons and hearts. BLICK, BLICK, BLICK. I finally found something white (Sara is very fussy about white underwear). Lo and behold (as Gramma says), in the size for ages 9/10, this camisole comes with a reinforced "hidden support" shelf. Not available in the size for ages 7/8.

Why is my 9-year-old being FORCED TO WEAR A BRA? CAN'T THE UNDERWEAR DESIGNERS DO THEIR WORK BASED ON SIZE RATHER THAN AGE? Can I point out that IF your 9-year-old needs "hidden support" you will buy her a BIGGER SIZE? Or a BRA??? GROWNUPS can buy camisoles without built-in "hidden support", so WHY CAN'T KIDS??????

It is so insidiously evil it makes me want to scream. And the pink ribbons and hearts. They make me want to scream too. I think it is far more rampant in the UK than in any other country I've been lately (USA, France)--they seem DETERMINED here to turn their girl-children into frilly little throwbacks to the 19th century. Whatever happened to Free to Be You and Me?



Feb. 27th, 2007 04:02 pm
ewein2412: (E Wein age 7)
Again, this is mostly written by my aunt Kate, cut-and-pasted somewhat. But I wanted to get something up for those of you who keep asking (you know who you are!), and I am so bad at writing stuff down lately.

Kate was on the scene all weekend in Pennsylvania. Gramma was in the hospital for 2 1/2 days and then moved to a rehab facility associated with the hospital. The orthopaedic doctor said that Gramma was a feisty lady and in great shape. The break was a very typical one for her age, a bone deep in the groin. Feels like she'll be walking independently in about 2 months (with walker?) She fell on the evening of the 21st and the PT guys had her walking (along bars attached to the wall, I guess) on the 23rd. Kate's report for today (27th) is that Gramma's doing remarkably well with her walker (ie, Zimmer frame, you brits)--it's slow and not far, but pretty amazing that she's even up. She is generally feeling optimistic and in good spirits. Everyone is focused on her going home, no talk about assisted living. What is most painful and not do-able at this point is bending down (ie putting on shoes) and turning on her side (ie getting out of a flat bed by herself). Kate asked about stairs and they said it was really a matter of pain and safety and that the PT at home would assess that. No talk of driving. OT is helping her figure out dressing and bathing and said they could come with family to the house to give suggestions regarding the set-up, which Kate thought was a great idea. Gramma has always resisted things like keeping pots and pans out instead of in the cupboard, and taking up the rugs, but the mantra is "if you want to be in Gretna....."

We still don't know what she'll be able to do in a couple weeks. The social worker at the rehab center told her the average stay there was 7-10 days, so that is now her focus.
Kate's final note to me: "All in all, I think we should feel pretty lucky and, once again, know what an incredible woman she is. She's planning to go to Chicago and Va. in April."
ewein2412: (E Wein age 7)
POOR GRAMMA! Not the email I wanted to get, but my aunt Kate wrote to her daughters and me together rather than calling us all. (This post is mostly an edited version of Kate's letter). Gramma's OK, fell over the rug after turning off the dining room light last night. Then pulled the phone cord out of the wall and tried for 1/2 hr. to get it back in, then remembered that she had her cell phone right there, so called 911--who couldn't get in because the door was locked. Gramma's niece who lives down the street was there but didn't have her key. Gramma dragged her way to the door so they could get her in the ambulance. SO: she broke her pelvis in two places (in the back). She's in the hospital and has a phone by her bed--I called her as soon as I got Kate's message and she sounded good. First thing she said was "I tried to call you yesterday because I wanted to talk about the last book group book and I thought you'd already had the meeting!" (She is a long-distance member of my book group here in Perth). She was worried that her family (kids, grandchildren) would all be mad, she would miss an important meeting about where her oldest great-grand is going to change school to, no one is around to babysit for her 3rd-youngest great-grand, and mainly she felt so stupid for having fallen. (over a rug. in the dark. At 90.) She is not in pain unless she moves, and she can sit up. They don't really do anything for this except wait for it to heal, the biggest risk at this point is probably being bedridden in the hospital.

Kate says "I think we're in for a very long haul."

ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))
My aunt gave me a pair of Hee!ies for my birthday. (Best birthday present ever! I wanted them very much.) It is amazing how NOT like skating it is to skate on your heels--I am also amazed that I ever managed to work out how to use them, which involved a lot of being pulled up and down the Promenade on the Deal seafront by my husband and children. Today I seriously brained myself with them for the first time. Skinned knees again at 42!

This is what I did this summer:

1) Flew small planes in NJ/PA/VT and got a US pilot's license. I can now fly planes registered in the US as well as those of 23 European member states. Or something like that.

2) Attended the 20th and final Children's Literature New England (CLNE) institute.

As a direct result of schmoozing at CLNE, I have been asked to speak at Children's Literature Midwest, the infant offspring of Children's Literature New England. If it goes ahead as planned, it will be held sometime next August, possibly in Ohio. The theme is "Conflict and Resolution." I have to come up with a reading list of relevant children's books to talk about. Suggestions are VERY, VERY WELCOME.

On the home front:

1) My grandmother (who is 90, remember?) visited us for 3 weeks in October. We took her to Bamburgh and Lindisfarne and Hadrian's Wall and Dover and the Lake District… everywhere, really. I did not manage to take her flying.

2) The bunny died while we were in the States in July--of old age, apparently, but it was very traumatic for Sara especially. She did such a stellar job of taking care of Bru while he was around that we let her choose a new pet. So now we have Laura [Ingalls Wilder] (….), a black and white female kitten, 11 weeks old.

3) A friend's child (the little brother of Sara's best friend) had a malignant brain tumor "the size of a tennis ball" removed ten days ago. He appears to be making a remarkable recovery, much to everyone's relief, but it has thrown the neighborhood into a state of high-strung emotion.

4) There are BABY DOLPHINS in the Tay. We went to see them on a boat.

Work-related bad news:

Both The Winter Prince and A Coalition of Lions are now officially out of print. The headache I am getting over trying to purchase remaindered copies of Coalition in paperback would make your eyes cross. None of MY children have brain tumors that I know of, so I am mellower about the fantastic administrative snarls that dog my books than I perhaps ought to be.

Work-related good news:

The Lion Hunter is scheduled for publication in summer 2007 (14 June 2007, if the crystal globe that is Amazon.com is to be believed--they also appear to know that it is going to be 208 pages, although we have not finished editing it yet!). The Empty Kingdom is set to follow in spring 2008. Together the books are parts 1 and 2 of a thing called The Mark of Solomon, which in my brain I always refer to as "The Adolescence of Telemakos." "The Mark of Solomon" is probably a better title.

I have seen lovely cover sketches for Lion Hunter, by the fabulous Cliff Nielsen.


A very funny link (ok, my sense of humor is a maybe a little warped). This is what happens when you get Google to translate the entry for "Mordred" on the German Wikipedia site:

In which Plumb Bob is married to Mrs. Morgause, and Guinevere takes Lance Plumb Bob as a lover!


and apologies to all for being such an inconsistent correspondent.
ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))
I just thought everyone ought to know. It's Midsummer's Day and it's snowing.

Actually, we had a tremendous rainbow later this evening, a full 180 degree double arc covering the whole sky. The snow was only a flurry, mid-afternoon; it's not actually cold enough for snow, but I reckon it was a freak of this damned wind that's been howling a gale for the last 36 hours, blowing snow out of the clouds so fast it doesn't have time to melt.


Gramma got 90 cards (last time I heard the count)! And sundry bunches of flowers, books, etc. Here she is on the way to her birthday dinner:

She's in the middle. On the left (Gramma's right) is Nancy, who was a year ahead of her in high school and is now her next door neighbor (she'll be 91 on 28 June). On the right (Gramma's left) is Polly, one of Gramma's best friends from high school.

I think they all look great.
ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))
Isn't this amazing? 25 C = 77 F. 77 degrees F!

The MetOffice predicts


86 F!!!!!!

I know that it makes people fall over in the street and I shouldn't laugh. But I still find it very funny. I will never get over it being 102 F when I left Philadelphia last summer and 52 F when I arrived in Glasgow the next morning.


My fabulous Gramma is 90 today!

(The photo was taken last summer. Her hair is natural!)


ewein2412: (Default)

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