Sunday, August 21, 2011

Age and birthdays

I turned fifty years old yesterday. Woohoo! I had a fine celebration, with family and friends and plenty of pie. It was great to have my mother and four of my six siblings here (the other two had good reasons why they couldn't be here, and we did miss them).

Fifty. It gives me pause. I don't mind being fifty, just feel some surprise that I am.

Often I feel much the same age as in the next two pictures.

(around 3)

(around 14)

Age is a funny thing, isn't it? I've always felt that there's no sense in being upset about what age I am. It's something I have no control over. At schools, when kids ask questions at the end of a show, they often ask how old I am. I think I learned my response from my friend Judy Nichols. Here's the way it usually goes:

Audience: How old are you?
Me: I'm fifty! I never mind telling how old I am, but I want to tell you something important. What's the first question adults usually ask kids after they ask your name?
Audience: "How old are you?"
Me: Right. And guess what the one question is that you're not supposed to ask adults, especially women?
Audience: "How old are you?"
Me: That's right. It's weird, isn't it? I don't mind telling you my age, but you might not want to ask other grownups.
(I don't mention that we also don't ask about weight or income.)

Kids are very specific about their ages. Six and three quarters, eight and a half, those increments mean something. Remember how much older a kid two grades above you was? Unreachable. Even in high school, it was odd when a senior dated a sophomore or a freshman.

Back to my age. Fifty is one of those birthdays that prompts life evaluation. Am I doing what I want to do? Yes. I hope I'll be a storyteller until I'm an old lady. Are there ways to improve? Always. Is there anything else I'd like to do as a storyteller? Yes--thank goodness, because if there weren't, I'd be stagnant. Or dead.

Glad to be alive, glad to be fifty.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

DVDs galore

The Peru trip is long over, summer reading programs in the libraries have had their final celebrations and now it's time for me to turn my attention to the new DVD, The Itsy Bitsy Tiger and Other Ridiculous Stories and Songs.

Did I mention that I ordered 1000 of these and that they're in my puppet room?

Thank goodness that picture is an optical illusion, with the mirrored closet door behind the boxes. Still, those eleven boxes are daunting. Add to that the other CDs and DVDs in the storage space above the closet and some upstairs in my office, and you start to think that this little piggy could build a house out of recordings.

I still have cassettes of The Ghost With the One Black Eye and Chickens, too, hiding inside the closet (anybody want these? let me know, they're going for cheap, cheap, cheap).

At the risk of giving away all my trade secrets, here's what I've done so far:
  • Sent DVDs to my family. They're a huge support to me, whether they're close by or far away.
  • Set up an account at, similar to the one at
  • Sent DVDs to various review sources, such as, School Library Journal and Booklist.
  • Sent it to friends who review storytelling recordings for newsletters or blogs, like Granny Sue and Linda Goodman.
  • Taken them to the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence (they've already restocked once).
  • Written about it on this blog.
  • Posted about it on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Taken it to various libraries this summer.
  • Mentioned it to a few other librarians
What I haven't yet done:
  • Told people plainly how much the DVDs are: $15 plus $2 s/h, $12 plus s/h if you're a library or are buying more than 3 (e-mail me if you're interested in ordering it).
  • Made a real plan for marketing this new DVD. I'm still operating by SOTP (right, seat-of-the-pants).
  • Probably a zillion other things that will occur to me at inconvenient times, like when I'm in the shower or driving in a rainstorm or floating on a lake.
Floating on a lake. Ahh, that sounds like the best idea of all.