So, last Thursday I finished up my first round (I am returning in the Spring) of visits in Frisco, TX. It was a great trip, special thanks to all the teachers and librarians whose warmth and hospitality made Frisco a lovely twelve-day home. As I caught my flight to Houston, I made a little list of all the things I learned in Frisco:
1. If you go to Frisco, stay in the Homewood Suites. My trip included a weekend stay--all the librarians were so kindly worried that I would be bored and stuck and kept offering to take me out. No need. Did you see the pool? It was like a resort paradise, and the perfect place to unwind after a week of visits.
2. I CAN present to really large groups. I've always tried to put a limit on the number of students I present to--in the past it's been at most 150 kids at a time. In Frisco, the schools were so big that every group was at least 350 kids. Yikes! It was a definite trial by fire! But by day 3, I got the swing of it and now I feel pretty confident about it. Of course, it helped a lot that the students were very well prepared for me by the super-librarians of Frisco.
3. Lisa Yee is afraid of birds. I met authors Lisa and Carl Deuker in Frisco (they were presenting to the older grades) and were amazed and impressed by their ability to speak to the audience without any visual clues or pre-planned speech. Public speaking is something I have had to really work on and while I have been able to fake it to an extent, it will always scare me. As birds in Frisco will always scare Lisa (she said it was something about symmetry in nature, but I think it's really that Alfred Hitchcock movie).
4. Chicken-Fried steak is just a sample of what they fry in Texas. I had my first chicken fried steak experience which was coronary-killingly delicious. As my mouth rejoiced and my arteries clogged, I was informed that there was a plethora of other deep-fried dishes that I could try--including deep-fried jellybeans, deep-fried bacon and deep-fried twinkies. It's like Japanese tempura gone wild.
5. If you but a penny in a bag of water and hang it in the sun, it will scare away flies. Apparently, something about the way the light reflects the copper in the water does something to the eyes of a fly that freaks them out, which is why this restaurant has those bags hanging on the porch. Anyway, if the pennies in the bags don't scare the flies, I'm sure the enormous bear will.
6. The best nighttime indulgence is a glass of pinot noir and a Little Debbie nut bar. This combination was sworn to me by Debra (seen below), the tireless and wonderful CRM of Barnes and Nobles who followed me to each school carting and carrying loads of my books. After trying it myself, I am inclined to agree. I may buy myself a case of each when I return to Boston!