Monday, December 27, 2010

Crazy Pet Guy

Marc Morrone has often been a guest on Martha Stewart's shows, but before that he was on local cable out of Long Island. People would call in for pet advice. The chaos was magnificent ("Let me just get the cat out of the iguana cage here" and "Don't bite the puppy's head!") and the suspense always kept us watching.

Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future

I loved this show so MUCH!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You're Our Llama, Mama, Part One


In early spring 2007, I noticed this sweet kitty loitering on and near my back deck on a regular basis. I used to have a bird feeder back there. Here she is hanging around under my finch feeder hopefully waiting for a little bird snack:

I took this photo through a window (on May 5, 2007) because she always ran away when I appeared outside. I thought she might be one of the kittens that was born here in 2005, so I was very interested in her reappearance. I had no clue that she was already a Mama Cat, but I should have known.

[When a long-haired black cat loitered here two years before in 2005, her presence predicated the sudden appearance of five kittens from underneath the deck and I fervantly believe that one of them grew into our Mama Cat, the mother of my children. The working theory here is that the dark recesses under my deck are somehow very attractive to pregnant cats...I have since removed the bird feeder because it just didn't seem fair to the birds. Oh - and let's call that long-haired black cat "Grandma".]

(my journal entry from August 19, 2005):

"Yesterday was Friday and I had to go to work. I was making breakfast, washing dishes, etc. when, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a flash of animal movement on my deck which I thought was a squirrel (likely) or a woodchuck (also likely.) On my second look, it turned out to be a kitten! And on my third look, there were two kittens!

"Kittens! Kittens alone are definitely strays. Kittens alone must be fed. I have no cat food! Milk! I have milk. Wait. Milk is bad for cats. But I have milk. OK, milk. Jeff gave me a bowl for the black cat. How does the black cat fit into all this? Oh-milk! OK-I put the milk out and they scurry under the deck over near the hose. Wait. Watch. They're back! They're drinking milk! There's three kittens!

"Then I thought of canned chicken in the pantry. Wait! Tuna fish! Flew on tiptoe to plant rack and got a plate. Put half a can of tunafish on the plate, chopped it up and scared them away again when I opened the door to put it out. They came back. Now there are five. Five kittens! Five was my favorite number when I was five!

"Last night was exhilarating. I stopped on the way home and bought cat food. I saw a couple of the kittens on the deck when I got out of the car. I divided a can of cat food onto three plates and some kitten activity was just starting when Jeff arrived. I went to the front door and hushed him and we tiptoed into the house to watch the fun through the back door.

"The most handsome kitten has tufted ears like a Maine coon cat and is very shy-sometimes only his eyes and ears show as he peeks at us over the edge of the deck. The bravest kitten is soft gray stripes with wispy white paws (now read carefully - this is me in 2010 talking to you - here is the evidence that I first met Mama Kitty when she was a little kitten recently born) and the second bravest kitten is just the same except that the whiteness of her paws is bold and well defined and she has a brilliant white chest and chin ( Now look at this photo of Mama Kitty in 2008. Look familiar? Hmmm? Doesn't she have a "brilliant white chest and chin"? And doesn't the photo to the left show that "the whiteness of her paws is bold and well defined"?) There is a long-haired black who looks just like his mother and #5 is a nondescript tabby that I don't remember very well.

"But this morning I am bereft...Where did I go wrong?...Did I peek at them through the door too often? Did I talk to them too much?

"A bowl of water and three dishes of food sit out on the deck now. Waiting.....waiting.....except for the birds, things are very quiet. Very different from my fantasy of them waiting for me outside my door this morning, alert but less afraid, until finally I would be able to sit outside with them while they ate, unperturbed....oh well." (end of 2005 journal entry)



Sailor appeared under my truck parked in the driveway as I arrived home in the car during a midnight monsoon on a dark, rainy Sunday night - June 3, 2007. He spent our first night together in a cat carrier in the bathroom. By the next night he had a name and he’d been to the vet. Dr. Poster said he was about 7 weeks old (but he was probably closer to 5 or 6 weeks.) He could eat solid food, but his eyes were still blue.

I had a sudden revelation that the bird-feeder kitty was probably this little boy kitten's mother. With the vague idea of somehow helping her, I shamelessly decided to use her kitten to lure her to stay in the area. The next day, even though it was still wet and drizzly, I cruelly put Sailor into the cat carrier and placed him alone outside on the back deck. It took only a combination of his pathetic mewing and some judiciously placed food for me to discover that not only did he have a devoted mother - he had two adorable twin sisters!

(note Mama Cat on the path in the background)

It was a very cold & rainy June, so I set up a feeding station on the deck under a blue tarp to keep the rain off. I photographed the two sisters through the kitchen window on June 16, 2007, barely two weeks after Sailor came inside.

From outside, Sailor’s family watched Sailor and me. They waited for mealtimes. I put a lawn chair on the back deck and the two sisters (I had started calling them T.C. - for Tortoiseshell Cat and Smokey) would sleep there in a knot, sometimes all night - sometimes with Mama. Life changed again in August 2007 when T.C. casually walked into a cat carrier that I had baited with food and allowed me to close the door behind her (now it was her turn to spend the night in the bathroom.) Within 24 hours I caught the more timid Smokey in a raccoon trap and, after their hysterectomies, Sailor's sisters started living in a giant dog cage in the back of my pickup truck. For a while I was too busy to take pictures (but check out this short movie of life inside the cage.)

In October 2007, Smokey Boo Boo went to live with Jeff. T.C. Sissy stayed in the house with me and Sailor.

Mama Boo was left outside all alone.
To be continued.............

(A visit from Mama Cat on Halloween 2007)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Little Dog Turpie, by Leila Berg (with illustrations by George Him)

Here is another story from Leila Berg. Apologies to Jane and Param for taking a year and a half to get around to posting this. Hey - just in time for Halloween!

Once upon a time there was a little old man and a little old woman, and they lived together in a little old house with their Little Dog Turpie.

Now out in the woods lived the Hobyahs. Every night they came running towards the house, up, up, on their long toes, creeping, creeping, through the soft grass, waving their wild tails, came the Hobyahs. And they shouted, "Break down the house, carry off the little old man, eat up the little old woman!" But Little Dog Turpie always heard them coming, and he would bark and bark and bark, "Wow, wow!" till they all ran away.

The little old man and the little old woman didn't know about the Hobyahs, because Little Dog Turpie always frightened them away. But one night the old man sat up in bed and said, "Little Dog Turpie barks so loudly that I can't sleep. In the morning I shall take off his tail."

So in the morning the little old man took off Little Dog Turpie's tail because he barked so much.

That night when the old man and the the old woman were in bed, out of the woods came the Hobyahs. Up, up, on their long toes, creeping, creeping, through the soft grass, waving their wild tails, came the Hobyahs. And they shouted, "Break down the house, carry off the little old man, eat up the little old woman!" But Little Dog Turpie heard them coming and he barked and he barked and he barked, "Wow, wow!" till they ran away.

But the little old man sat up in bed and said, "Little Dog Turpie barks too loudly, and I can't sleep. In the morning I shall take off his legs."

So in the morning the little old man took off Little Dog Turpie's legs, because he barked so much.

The next night, when the little old man and the little old woman were in bed, out of the woods came the Hobyahs. Up, up, on their long toes, creeping, creeping, through the soft grass, waving their wild tails, came the Hobyahs. And they shouted, "Break down the house, carry off the little old man, eat up the little old woman!" But Little Dog Turpie heard them coming, and he barked and barked and barked, till they all ran away.

But the little old man sat up in bed and said, "That Little Dog Turpie barks too loudly, and I can't get any sleep. In the morning I shall take off his head."

So in the morning the little old man took off Little Dog Turpie's head.

That night, when the little old man and the little old woman were in bed, out of the woods came the Hobyahs. Up, up, on their long toes, creeping, creeping, through the soft grass, waving their wild tails, came the Hobyahs. And they shouted, "Break down the house, carry off the little old man, eat up the little old woman!" And Little Dog Turpie heard them coming, but the little old man had taken off his head, and now he couldn't bark any more and frighten them away.

So the Hobyahs broke down the house. They didn't carry off the little old man, because he hid under the kitchen table and they couldn't find him. But they carried off the little old woman to their Hobyah house, and they put her in a bag and hung her on the doorknob.

When the little old man found the Hobyahs had carried off the little old woman, he was very sorry for what he had done. Now he knew why Little Dog Turpie had been barking every night. "I am a silly old man," he said. "I shall put back Little Dog Turpie's tail and his feet and his head this very minute." So he went out into the yard and put them all back right away.

Then Little Dog Turpie went running off on his four legs to find the little old woman. He ran and he ran till he came to the Hobyah House. The Hobyahs were not at home, but they had left the little old woman hanging in the bag on the doorknob. Little Dog Turpie bit the bag with his sharp teeth till it fell off the doorknob, and then he pulled it open so that the little old woman could get out. She ran all the way back home to the little old man, and they were very pleased to see each other again, I can tell you, and they had a bit of a kiss and a hug.

But Little Dog Turpie crept inside the bag himself, and lay there waiting for the Hobyahs to come home again. Presently they came, and the first thing they did was to poke the bag with their long fingers, for they thought it was the old woman, you see. And out jumped Little Dog Turpie, barking as loudly as he could. The Hobyahs got such a fright they all ran away, and they ran so far they never came back. And that's why there are no Hobyahs today, not one.

Text ©Leila Berg, illustrations ©George Him, from Folk Tales for Reading and Telling, published by Brockhampton Press 1966

I love love love this book and I have posted from it (and about it) before, with permission from the families of the author and the artist.

Here are some notes on this story from Leila's website:

"Folk Tales for Reading and Telling was originally published in 1966 and was reprinted several times in hardback and in paperback in the late 60s and in the 70s. The stories were traditional ones culled from a dozen different countries. Each one is prefaced in the text by an introductory sentence from Leila, always followed by 'And this is the way I tell it.' The children in the little nursery school Leila was running at the time of writing the book would always join in, 'And this is the way I tell it.'

"All the stories were enhanced by the illustrations of George Him, a brilliant artist whose extraordinarily evocative pictures capture scenes from the wildest stories as the innocent imagination of the reading child might see them. It was George's idea to make Dog Turpie into a toy-type figure, so that his different pieces didn't have to be brutally chopped off, but were just taken apart."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Buffy Moment

Giles has just discovered that the ominous-looking mask hanging in Buffy's house is the reason that a (smelly) dead cat was resurrected in Buffy's back yard. Buffy's mom had brought the mask home from the art gallery where she works. As Giles races to Buffy's house to warn them (he couldn't get them on the phone), he says something that makes me explode with laughter every time I hear it, "Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty? It raises the dead! Americans."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The me show - all me, all the time - me me me

I don't know if anyone out there has noticed, but in my mind this is a place where I deposit fragments of my storytelling life. This past summer I got photographed a lot for some reason. I told Stephanie it was because of the great haircut she gave me!

This was taken by a co-worker for a newsletter:

I also happened to be handy when it was time for summer publicity.

Another co-worker took this.
I don't really like it - I wasn't feeling groovy that day:

Here's the Farmer's Market in July. This one is my favorite. Click on the photo to enlarge it and take a few moments to look at each and every child. The magic was happening at that very moment and the photographer captured it. This is why I do what I do:

And the big finish...

Both of the Farmer's Market photos were taken by photographer Phyllis Groner.

Last but not least, here I am in late July. The article is less than fun to read (sorry, Joseph - and it's not a "red chest", it's a Story Wagon!) but I liked the photos.

So - pretty glamorous, huh? Just kidding.

I need you to know that there are librarians all over the country who are doing great work with children and literacy. They read more books than I do so that they can make very personalized reading recommendations to children and their families; they keep up with current technologies to educate their patrons and colleagues; many devote themselves to disadvantaged children in libraries with very few resources. Most of those librarians are unphotographed, unsung heroes who are better than me me me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dance Ditties

New Wave sound, cute guy, festive medievalesqueness (what's not to like?):

(better view here)

Still the best girl power anthem on the planet ("I want to be the one to walk in the sun"!):

(better view here)

Oh Kate! This woman can do no wrong. Check out the whirling dervishes that first appear around 1:28 ("Don't ever think that you can't change the past and the future."):

(again here)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Me & My Great Grandfather

Here we are in 1966 visiting Grampie and Nettie at their cottage in Portage Lake, Maine. We had just been picking raspberries. I, of course, am having a different experience than everyone else is. Where IS she?

I guess I'm thinking about Portage Lake today because my parents and I will be traveling there together in July. I don't remember it very well and my father has graciously consented to escort me there for a visit. And of course we can't go north without Mommy. Road trip!

Notice that I am smoking a pipe just like Grampie. Rumor has it that he was also a bit of a storyteller.

Genetics. Go figure.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Listen to Hans, LeMans

OK-I know that my rhymes are getting really lame...anyway, here is an interview with children's author and illustrator Hans Wilhelm, in which he is SO articulate about the value of REAL fairytales - in all their gory glory - in the lives of children. Yay!

Hans Wilhem interviewed by Christina Haskins from Hans Wilhelm on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I've Got the Power, Flower!

Today the dandelion is my favorite flower. I had a chance to tell an Ojibwa dandelion story from Anne Pellowski's Hidden Stories in Plants today. I've been wanting to tell it for a long time. I'm not inclined to transcribe it tonight, but storyteller Fran Stallings retells it here and gives it pretty good alternative attribution, too. The tricky bit for me was that I wanted to tell this story with props. I wanted to have on hand both a fresh, young, yellow dandelion and a gray dandelion gone to seed. Dandelions only last a day after you pick them, so they have to be picked on the day you will use them. Usually the patches of flowers I find on storytime day are either all yellow or all gray, but today I found both together! Over ripeness is the other problem. Oftentimes you will pick a gray puff and it will be very delicate and the seeds will all blow away. But today was PERFECT! Today the three or four gray-headed girls that I found were not yet too ripe so I was able to pick and transport them with most of the seeds intact, and the fresh yellow flowers were tall and at their most beautiful because no one has mowed their lawns yet. And to top it off, little yellow-haired Alison called out, "Can I hold it?" so I had a golden-haired maiden who stood in the front of the audience and held a dandelion during the story. Thanks, story gods!

I also brought some bleeding hearts picked fresh from my garden--pink and white both--had a lovely time sharing my bleeding heart obsession!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I'm Homa, Roma!

Julia and I visited Sarah in Rome and it was fabuloso. Wanna see some pictures? I'm on Flickr here (no account needed) and Julia is on Snapfish here (you have to have an account to view.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Move to a Cave, Maeve

Sorry I've been out of commission for a while. I'm obsessively working on some renovation and restructuring inside my digs. And it all started with a little quart of latex paint that a friend gave to me. Oops.

Anyway - I'm still telling stories with vim and vigor, verve and contentment. And the audience has a lot to say about what goes into the stories. Today the Stonecutter morphed into a Chef; a Rich Man Who Wore a Leather Jacket, Cool Polka Dot Pants and Cool Clogs; a King in a Parade in a Great Car and Wearing a Crown, and so know the rest of the story--right?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why Don't You Show Us, Lois

One of my favorite picture book artists is Lois Ehlert. Last week I read Snowballs three times! We have a giant edition of it at work which I love to use because the illustrations of the snow people are about as tall as a two-year-old child. You can view the wonderful cover and the first few pages here. And here is an interview with Lois, a gentle soul for sure:

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Take That, Sailor Cat!

A Facebook conversation that just has to be shared
(between Julia, Lisa, Emily, Laura, Emily, Matt, Angela, Elizabeth, Sailor Cat and Sarah):

from Sarah - January 19 at 7:17pm
My uber cool blog...
Hi kids! So to chronicle my travels, i've decided to start a blog (really original idea, i know) but since i hope i'm not as narcissistic as some of the other people who assume that all their 400 friends will want to read their blog, I'm sending the address to you guys, (and not posting it in a status or something) hoping you actually love me enough to care about what i'm doing in Italy!!

I love you all, and I'll miss you!! and for the few i get to see while i'm there (yay!!) can't wait to see you!! :)

Sailor Cat - January 19 at 8:23pm
thanks, sweetie!

Matt - January 19 at 8:43pm
Buon viaggio

Emily - January 19 at 9:09pm
psh no.
(just kidding i loveeee you)

Laura - January 19 at 9:37pm
Cool beans!

Angela - January 19 at 9:54pm
nice! ill def check it out!

Angela - January 19 at 9:54pm
seriously who is sailor cat???

Emily - January 19 at 9:57pm
hahhahahahahahahahaha. i can't get over ang's fascination with this. i'm probably going to wake up the kids laughing so hard right now.
also the fact that you message her this in a thread in which the so-called cat is a member. hahaha. lovesss it.

Laura - January 19 at 10:02pm

Angela - January 19 at 10:08pm
why will no one tell me????? lmao

Matt - January 19 at 10:12pm
at least she didn't drop the f-bomb

Sailor Cat - January 19 at 10:27pm
Hi Angela-are they all torturing you? So sorry-it's me, Lynne (hint: we once had dinner together before a concert.)

Sailor Cat
- January 19 at 10:28pm
hello matt

Angela - January 19 at 10:49pm
ohhhh ok i was a bit confused

Laura - January 19 at 10:52pm

Sailor Cat - January 19 at 10:56pm

Sarah - January 19 at 10:58pm
Bwahahahahaha laughing so hard at all of you!! Auntie lynne, you're such a good sport! And angela, we've all had this discussions before, you're just a little late to the party :)
Sent via Facebook Mobile

Angela - January 19 at 10:59pm
i never remember anything

Sailor Cat
- January 19 at 11:01pm
love you guys too

Matt - January 19 at 11:35pm
Hi Ms. Lynne

Julia - January 20 at 11:42am
Y'all are goofy....that's all I have to say!!!
Sent via Facebook Mobile

Facebook © 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam

I got a couple of spams in my comments, so I turned on the word verification feature. (456-that means you have to type the funny word in the box before you can post your comment.)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What's the Idea, Ikea?

A sleepover on the Eve of Martin Luther King's Birthday:

Morning Manifestation Boxes:

Trying to ignore it all:

IKEA Baptism:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Golly Gee, Me

I made a couple avatars of myself using Check me out! Here is incredibly put together and successful business me (ha!):

Here is me on a summer day:

This is kind of addictive. Who else can I be?