Twitter-cation Comes with Umbrella-Drinks, Right?

It feels weird not to check Twitter before bed.

This the tweet I almost posted last night – before I remembered that in order to do so, I’d have to log-in to Twitter.

Immediately afterward I debated whether I was allowed to read e-mail notifications of DM’s. (Can I?)

This could be a long week.

When I saw Nova Ren Suma discussing a Twitter-cation last week, I thought, how sad! I’ll miss her and Tiffany Trent’s commentary. Then others climbed aboard and I thought, how brave.

Last night Tye and Victoria asked me if I was in, and, demonstrating my absolute inability to resist peer-pressure, I caved.

It feels weird.

My mind automatically forms sub-140 character soundbites:

Who was the idiot who decided orange and cranberry belong in the same muffin?

Confession: I have officially eaten more Revision Skittles than we distributed to trick-or-treaters.

Has anyone read GIRL IN THE ARENA? I like the story, but am struggling with the lack of “”marks.

How will I share my excitement about the new Jesse McCartney song “Body Language”? Or confess my St. Matt-mocked crush on him? Or share how I caught St. Matt humming the tune after I played it on repeat for an hour. *gigglefit*

The worst part, however, will be not knowing what’s going on with everyone else. So if you could all e-mail me regular updates of your day, that’d be great. I won’t even limit you to 140 characters.

Book of Wonder signing and Wonderful Liner-Uppers

I’m strict about few teacher-ly things. One of these is an orderly line in the hallways. In fact, I’m very particular about my lines – they’re to be quiet, non-running, and the students should greet any adult they pass with a “Good morning.”

Creativity and spontaneity reign in my classroom, so my regimented outlook on lining up may be puzzling– unless you happen to know that when I was in 5th grade, my arm was broken by a classmate exhibiting unruly hallway behavior. But that story is in no way related to what happened in Books of Wonder on Sunday, so we’ll save it for another time.

The lining-up thing, however, is relevant to my Books of Wonder signing experience…


Shortly after arriving at the bookstore –to remove myself from the temptation of buying more books — I wandered into the back area where the signing would be held and began checking out the artwork. I challenged the-other-Tiffany to an identifying contest, then picked out prints I’d like to have in my house and explained where I’d hang them. Basically, I prattled on while St. Matt and the-other-Tiffany nodded tolerantly and watched the store clerks set up tables and name cards.

St. Matt poked me: “Do you know there’s a line forming behind you?”

“What?” I turned. There was, in fact, a line that began behind me and reached back almost to the bookshelves. “Weird.”

I informed the girls behind us that we weren’t in-line for anything and continued to amuse myself by blathering and checking Twitter on Petunia, commenting on how – since the authors were sequestered in a room closed off by velvet drapes – they were quite literally the (wo)men behind the curtain.

The-other-Tiffany poked me: “It’s really a long line now.”

I turned again – the line was past the bookshelves and snaking back through the store. It was a good line. A great line really. Mostly single file, not too loud, people were respectful of each other’s space, no shoving, shouting or other tomfoolery was occurring. It was a line that would make any teacher proud.

Still… there wasn’t a need for a line and I hadn’t meant to start one. “Um, we’re not in line,” I said, then repeated it a little louder.

No one moved. Apparently my teacher line-up superpower overwhelmed them. The line now reached through the store and to the door. It was causing problems, blocking traffic. I was being capital-T-is-for-Tiffany-and-Trouble without meaning to. (Not that I ever really mean to cause trouble, but I have a talent for it just happening).

As I stood there alternating between being amused, anxious, and really wanting to start singing the song from Peter Pan “We’re following the leader, the leader, the leader, we’re following the leader, wherever he may go…” an announcement came on over the store’s PA system: Ladies and Gentleman, there is no reason to be in line right now. Please make yourselves comfortable, the authors will be out shortly and will be starting with a question and answer session. If you haven’t received a number for the signing that will take place after their presentation, please make your way to the front of the store to get one. There is no need for a line.

The line begrudgingly melted into a crowd-shaped blob and did the other thing I spend half my teaching day doing – sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce on the floor.
So when the authors emerged from behind their curtain, we were all ready for a class-meeting, or read aloud, or… er, a question and answer period with authors. The-other-Tiffany and I — since we’d been the front of the accidental-line — were now front row in the seated squad, which enabled us to get great pictures.

Including:

Lisa telling her Miss Spoobin story


Cassandra’s robot shoes

After each author had done her introduction, they opened the floor to audience questions. They promised a Hershey Kiss to each brave asker, but I’m sorry to say that they frequently forgot to toss them. (I think this was due to a woeful lack of accurate throwing ability). Not that the askers minded – it wasn’t the smidgen of chocolate that motivated any asking.

Some memorable questions: When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Lisa: 4th grade
Beth: After 40
Elizabeth & Cassandra: I fell into writing after trying everything else

Elizabeth Scott & Cassandra Clare

Do you write or read fan fiction or read reviews?
Universally, the authors distance themselves from fan fiction (although, Lisa did allude to some mysterious, pseudonymous Survivor play-by-plays). They also agreed reading reviews ends up being more confusing than helpful for them as writers – they’re more for other readers.

Lisa McMann & Beth Fantaskey

Lisa told a sweet story about meeting Madeline L’Engle when she worked in a bookstore. Cassie talked about how her interest in history influenced her writing and also mentioned possible graphic novel/side stories that may be forthcoming. Elizabeth spoke about how Living Dead Girl was inspired by a dream she’d had four nights in a row and Beth shared how adopting her daughters motivated her to write Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. They were all charming and engaging; I could’ve sat and listened for at least another 30 minutes before my whole bottom half fell asleep. Alas/ at last, it was time to move on to the signing portion.

An announcement was made:
Those of you with numbers 1-15 please line up for signatures. Everyone else, please make yourselves comfortable, we’ll call you up in groups by your numbers.

And what did the crowd do? Did they go mingle and chat while waiting? No. They lined up. They lined up to get in line. There was the line of numbers 1-15… and then the line of people waiting to get in line when their numbers were called. I was tempted to ask the bookstore crowd if they’d like to come back to my school and do a demonstration of advanced-hallway-behavior.

Seeing that I was older than most of the audience, I tried to keep my impatient I’m-waiting-in-line-to-meet-Lisa-McMann dancing to a subtle shuffle-in-place. I must’ve been successful because no one asked me if I needed to use the restroom.

Finally it was MY turn. (I might have cut the-other-Tiffany and seen Cassandra Clare first). I hadn’t read her books before meeting her, but yesterday’s fan enthusiasm pushed City of Bones to the top of my towering tower of TBR and I’m now almost done. (The next two are on order at the bookstore – Distraction Fairy, thy new name is Jace).


Then Lisa…

She is lovely! She was kind, gracious, and willing to chat about spoons, Twitter, Cappy the kitten, touring, school… I forgot about the line toe-tapping behind me. It was like slipping into a conversation with an old acquaintance, and even though I AM a major fan, I didn’t walk away feeling like I’d been a blathering incoherent fangirl. I walked away feeling like I’d met a kindred spirit and thinking another perk of fulfilling my author-dreams would be meeting more people like her.

P.S. There were some superstars in the audience too. Among them: Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld and BEDA-Queen, Maureen Johnson. I was quite tempted to go ask Maureen how it felt to control the free time of 400+ fans for the month of April…but decided she might not want to spend her non-computer hours discussing interwebby things. The fact that I am now mentioning this in my blog, however, is absolutely acceptable. And is in no way, shape, or form a shameless bid to have my site chosen as BEDA blog of the day…

Toilets, Tweezers & Twitter

I was feeling optimistic as I brushed my teeth last night. I could do this. I could beat insomnia. I could sleep. I could – gulg, blurble. Those sounds, in case you don’t recognize them, are the sounds tweezers make when they’re knocked off a counter and into a toilet.

Toothbrush still wedged between my molars and cheek, I stared open-mouthed. Toothpaste foam began to dribble down my lip. Looking like a rapid insomniac, I peered in the toilet.

Nothing.

Did that just happen? Maybe I imagined it. Sleep deprivation can cause hallucinations.

I checked the counter. No tweezers.
I checked the toilet. No tweezers.
They’d gone down the hole.

Confession: my first instinct was to flush. If there’s no proof or witnesses, it never happened, right? I stood glowering at toilet and imagining what would happen…

Husband: Have you seen our tweezers?
Me: Tweezers?
H: Yeah, tweezers. Pointy metal things? Used to take out splinters like this one?
Me: *giggling nervously and edging out of the room* Never heard of such a thing


Later the same day, the pipes EXPLODE and plumber is called. He spends hours muttering things like ‘hopeless,’ ‘major repairs,’ and ‘Maserati’ before plucking the tweezers out of the ruin that used to be our bathroom and saying: “Here’s the cause of the bazillion dollars of damage. I’m going to hafta turn off your water. It’ll take four months to repair.”

Me: *innocent look in place* Wow. How could those have gotten in there? I have no idea how they could possibly, accidentally gotten knocked into the toilet and then impulsively flushed.
Husband: Tiffany!

Resisting the urge to flush, I backed out of the bathroom.

I needed an expert – but who to ask?
Around 1:30 this morning, I tweeted this:

HELP! I dropped my tweezers in the toilet. Can’t see them – can I just flush & consider them a lost cause, or do I need to do something?

But no help was offered. Tweople were asleep. Stymied, I took a post-it note, wrote: Don’t Flush! Tweezers in there. And went to bed.

Since it was 2 AM when I crafted my post-it, it took multiple snoozes, wet puggle noses and finally Husband threatening to withhold coffee before I got out of bed in the morning. He was on the way out the door.

Me: Um, honey, did you fix anything this morning?
H: Yes.
Me: *perking up* Really?
H: Yes, your coffee’s ready to go and sitting on the counter downstairs. Now get up!
Me: Oh, coffee. (first and only time when having coffee fixed for me will be disappointing)

I followed him downstairs, and held my breath as he popped in the bathroom to Lysterine before heading out the door.

Husband emerged with post-it. Ut-oh.
H: What’s this?
Me: You’re going to be late, we’ll talk about it tonight.
H: Why didn’t you just pull them out?
Me: I’m not putting my hand in THERE. Besides, I can’t see them. But don’t worry, I have a plan.
H: Ooo-K.

Great, now I needed to find a plan. Well, it’d taken him that long to find my note. We have other toilets – maybe we should consider this one a lost cause and abandon it forever. I could find an alternate use for the toilet – like people who use tires as lawn art. We could fill it with dirt and make it a self-watering planter. If we got a step stool, it could be a water bowl for the dogs.

I needed help.

  • Co-workers just reiterated that Tiffany should NOT flush the toilet. No matter how much she believed that maybe the tweezers disappeared overnight.
  • Students thought it was very funny. Sixth graders like to say ‘toilet’ and make bathroom jokes.
  • Our DARE officer stopped by and I asked him: “I know this is outside of your typical jurisdiction, but…”

I needed more help; good thing that the Twitterverse was very ready to be helpful. It assembled a virtual support team for my tweezer/toilet crisis.

Thank you Suze, Emily, Linda, Clinton Books, Lisa, Julie, Alea, Michelle, and Pseudosu for being there for me in my time of need. Julie, if I have a plumbing emergency – I’m calling you! The rest of you – I’m glad you weren’t around when I was fighting the just-flush impulse last night. Clearly you’re in cahoots with the plumber – he wasn’t really going to let you test drive his Maserati.

My students came through in the clutch too; they created a fetch-your-tweezers-from-the-toilet-dance. It involves reaching down, making a fist, pumping it in the air, shaking it off, then reaching around with the other hand to ‘flush.’ I’m sure it will be appearing on dance floors near you later tonight.

With all this support, I was ready when I got home from school. I plucked the strongest magnet off the fridge. Tied my best former-Brownie knot around it. Twice –I wasn’t a very good Brownie. Took a deep breath. And marched into the bathroom.

And it an utterly anti-climactic turn of events – the tweezers stuck to the magnet the first time I dropped it in the toilet.

SUCCESS!

The tweezers and magnet are both safely in the trash and I’m dancing. It’s a great new dance that’s all the rage in 6th grade; the fetch-your-tweezers-from-the-toilet. I’ll teach you if you want.

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