Not Enough Time

We leave tomorrow for the storytelling gigs in Fresno.
Four days is just not enough time for a visit with our daughter and her family. And, it passes too quickly.

Three boys, 15, 13 and 10, who all play some kind of competitive sport are very busy. It is fun to follow their games. But I have to admit that watching Scotty's team has been the special treat.

Scotty is the 10 year old. When we were here in December his team had just begun their CYO basketball season. Then the boys played with energy and determination. They ran with wild abandon and little fore thought about what was going to happen. The goal was to shoot, shoot, shoot. We arrived Saturday in time to get to a CYO tournament game in Heyward. What a change in the team.

They manuevered plays, real well-thought out and planned plays. They worked as a team and they were very effective. The coach had put in a lot of time training these kids and it had paid off. They did not win their game, true, but they played really well. And, they did not dispair over the loss. Took it in stride - knowing there is always, "next year." Wow!

Scotty in action!

Breakfast this morning with Jim's college room-mate. Good laughs and the joy of shared memories and stories.

Two days ago Jim made two pots of a hearty vegetable soup. It has been perfect for the cold and rainy days. We feast and feast and the pot stays full like the magic pot of the fairytale. But this is not magic. Jim keeps tinkering with the crock pot - - adding more broth and other goodies. He can keep a pot of soup going for days.

Grandson Jamie is adding another movie to my iPod - The Return of the Mummy. Great airplane fare.

I am not ready to leave.

If only I could be in two places at one time.


Rain and More Rain

San Francisco
Rain, Rain, Rain.
The world under it is wet and cold; the kind of cold that seeps into the marrow of your bones and settles there.
When we were visiting Several years ago during a run of similar cold and wet days, we bought an electric blanket. It's waits like a good friend ready to wrap us in a warm hug.

The man sitting next to me on the flight from Washington, DC told me this was his first trip to SF. He and his fiancee had planned a wonderful, romantic 4 day holiday to meet the city by the bay. Its always all about timing isn't it?


Rocking and Rolling West

Do you remember Rock a Bye Baby - the old lullaby mothers and others sing to send babies and young children off to dream land?

As our JetBlue plane rocked and rattled in strong winds 30,000 feet above the ground, I thought about that old song. When the pilot announced in his super cool and calmest voice that he was climbing higher and higher to find us a smooth ride I thought "good, good" and then added "hurry, hurry".

My seat belt was pulled low and tight over my lap. I satin the comfortable grey leather seat with my eyes shut tight. I felt the same thing I do in the dentist's chair. FEAR.

Passengers to the left and to the right of me were sleeping. Amazing.


Going West

Tomorrow morning Jim and I hop on Jet Blue at Dulles and head to Oakland. Spending time with our grandchildren is icing on this storytelling trip.

March1 I am telling stories at Heaton Elementary School in Fresno. Will be fun to share my stories with these West Coast kids and see what stories they like and if they react any differently than the kids in our area.

March 3 and 4- I am telling a new program of original stories as part of the Rogue Festival. http://secondhandrose.blogspot.com

We will be home March 5.
This gives me a couple of days to switch gears before my Irish Program March 8.
I am really looking forward to this program It is a blend of Irish folktales and family history.
Jim and I went to Ireland for several weeks last summer; our first trip.
As we slowly descended toward land on our approach to Shannon Airport I thought of Catherine Lonergan, a 12 year old girl, who left Ireland in 1835 on a ship with her parents and brothers to make their lives in a new land. We reached Ireland from Washington, DC in 7 hours. It took those Lonergans nearly a month.
While we were there I listened to all the women I encountered in all their ages and wondered what had been the sound of her.
Catherine was my three great grandmother. She had been dead 48 years when I was born - and I never heard anyone speak of her.

Discovering INKHEART

Am I the last one to find out about INKHEART?

It is a bestseller in Europe and this country. It is the first volume of a trilogy. The author, Cornelia Funke, is considered the German J.K. Rowling.

And how did I find out about it?

By checking on when Mummy 3 is going to be made and if Brendan Fraser - yes, yes, back to that- is going to reprise the role of Rick O'Connell.
(The answer to that is yes.)

In that surfing search I learned that Brendan Fraser is right now filming in INKHEART.
INKHEART? What's that about - tatoos, what?

I wasn't nudged to find out more until I was sitting in a doctor's office, reading an article about that queenly woman Helen Mirren - who is also right now shooting INKHEART.

That sent me looking for more information and I bumped right into this wonderful author, Funke, a woman who has imagined a world where words, books, stories - imagination - are the central focus. The heroine is a twelve year old girl whose father, a book-binder named Silvertongue - played by none other than you know who - brings characters to life when he reads books out loud. Helen Mirren plays her aunt. What a family!

Barnes and Noble has it in the children's section but the Public Library has it in Young Adult Fiction. I don't care where they shelve it - I cannot put the book down.

I checked it out of the library but then I had to buy it. I am underlining metaphors, and phrases.

I like this world.

I am looking forward to the movie.

Would you believe that Cornelia Funke dedicated the second volume of the Trilogy, INKSPELL, to Brendan Fraser?

Doesn't surprise me one bit.


They Remember My Stories

Storytelling brings such joy into my life.
I love to tell the stories.
It is a great feeling to look out at 180 or more elementary school children seated on the gym floor with their eyes glued to me - -waiting for the stories to start.
Sometimes their mouths are open - like little fish gulping water.
Sometimes their eyes light up when they jump ahead of me to the ending of the story.
You can see the "I got it " in their eyes.

This is the third year I have been telling stories in the schools, as storyteller-in-residence for the Audubon Naturalist Society, Chevy Chase, Maryland.
In some cases I have been to a school last year and the year before.
That keeps you on your toes - you can't tell the same stories.
Sometimes I don't remember what stories I told in each school. I know, I know,
I should write them down and I do - but not always.

This afternoon I looked at the fourth and fifth grade students settled on
the floor in front of me. 150 kids quieting down to listen to stories. I asked
how many had heard me tell stories last year and two thirds of the group raised
their hands. On an impulse I asked, "what stories did I tell you last year?"

Hands went up! "The story about the three brothers and being turned to stone." Yes, The
Queen Bee, a Grimms Fairytale. Another called out, "the story about the mosquitoes."
That's, All Things Are Connected.

Imagine that, they remembered.
They remembered my stories!

The stories have entered a child's memory.


What a privilege!


Running In Place

I love it when my schedule is packed. I think I have everything set. Telling stories, meetings, you know all those things that we think are our life and then - Mother Nature comes up with a big surprise

Being off-schedule gave me time to work on the "list".

Put up the new cyber exhibit I have been meaning to. These works are small drawings made with colored "sharpies" on discarded family snapshots. A little recycling.

March 3 and 4 I am telling a new storytelling program, Second Hand Rose, at the Rogue Festival in Fresno, CA. In case you are wondering why I wanted to go to Fresno I answer that question here.


Bouncing Off the Wall

"mirro mirror", collage and digital print, ellouise schoettler

Sorry I am not here right now. I am so blessed with opportunities to TELL my stories that I have not had time to write - but I will be back.

If you want to hear a story and you are in Montgomery County, MD my new Cable TV show, Stories in Time, premieres Monday, February 26 at 7:15 pm on Channel 16. Every week I will tell you a story. My stories are for adults (but suitable for young ears.) Hope you will stop by if you are in the area. http://ellouisestorytvshow.blogspot.com