Mike Allegra, children’s author, blogger, artist, keeper of houses, teller of hilarious family stories, and all around good guy, recently held one of his ever-popular doodle contests—and I won!

And even though he is suffering a debilitating injury to his drawing hand, he sent me this:

jitteryThis is Jittery–my very own Caffeine Gnome!

Just look at him!  Those eyes, those slippers, that clear sense of involuntary vibration!

He’s a lot more cheerful than I usually imagine them, but my experiences are generally affected by caffeine withdrawal, which tends to elevate even the figments of my imagination to DefCon-2 Cranky and has them looking around for drums, bagpipes, and ice picks with which to express their displeasure, until I offer suitable apologies and double their rightful tribute in the form of Americanos, mochas, diet Pepsis, and or straight up chocolate-covered beans.

But Jittery is clearly one Gnome who has consumed perhaps a little more than his fair share and is planning to ride the coffee train until the inevitable crash.

I like that in a metaphor.  And I adore this drawing.

Thanks, Mike!



My friend Mike Allegra has made my entire week, if not longer.

I have been nagging begging pleading asking subtly suggesting that he draw me a duck in a fedora for almost as long as I’ve known him, give or take a couple of minutes.

Look what he drew for me:


That tie! That hat! That mug!  That other mug!

This hard-boiled private duck is just what I needed to counteract self-doubt and the beginning of a stress-packed week.  And if he can’t inspire me to crazy new word counts, I don’t know what would.

Thanks, Mike.

A Brief List of Happy Tuesday Stuff

Things that made me happy today:


Feeding my kids pizza for breakfast without guilt—
or pitching the uneaten half of their cereal, toast, eggs, or other traditional breakfast foods.


This also took care of my MIL’s complaints about the leftover pizza taking up too much space in the fridge
and the way my children don’t eat enough in the morning—
though it did not stop her from expression her silent, pointed, painful-looking opinions about pizza not being Real Food.

I can’t say that didn’t have an elevating effect on the “without guilt” part of the experience.

(and also maybe, secretly, the happy)



Singing along to the radio on my way to work, stopping at a light, and realizing that the guy in the car next to me is belting out the exact same song.

He was doing Kimbra’s part, while I was covering Gotye.

He noticed,too, gave me a thumbs up, and we both sang louder, with feeling.
(long light +  a cement truck trying to back up over railroad tracks= looong light)

But the best part?

When the light changed, he grinned at me and hollered, “Let’s take this show on the road!” and took off.

He made my entire day.



I gave a very young patron a pencil and some scrap paper this afternoon,
while her grandmother was having something notarized,
and later received a hug and a picture that Jackson Pollack would have been proud to call his own.

She said I was a “very nice Library Lady.”Librarian Stereotype




Mike Allegra’s Doodle Contest! For which I get an extra entry because I mentioned it on my blog!


It ain’t ego, if it’s true.

If I win, I want a duck in a fedora!

Because that would make me even happier.


Random Thursday: Random Must Haves

Quick Random Thursday this time, as I’m running around throwing things into several suitcases, doing one last load of laundry,  and packing I’m Boooooored Travel Bags for me the kids.

Just in case you missed Tuesday’s post and Wednesday’s heads-up,  this may be the last post I’ll be able to do for about a week, unless the house we’ve rented miraculously has Wifi, or there’s a convenient hotspot within reasonable distance.*

If Verizon can find me, I’ll probably be able to reply to comments and e-mail through my phone, but I don’t think I have it in me to type out whole posts with my thumbs.

This is supposed to be a vacation, after all.

Oh, mercy, here come the shakes again . . . 


Taking Steps to Brilliant Bookends (or vice versa)

Mike Allegra, that brave man, recently asked his regular blog commenters which topics they’d like him to explore this summer.

Several people wanted to see his bookshelves, which are eclectically filled and remarkably orderly and feature a few tasetful clocks and the occasional robot.

But it was his bookends—or bookstops, really—that I’m coveting:

Allegra Book Stops

See those leaves?  See  how they keep the books upright?  See how the books form a literary railing?

Where did he get those?

He made ’em himself out of dowels and curtain rod ends, and stuck ’em in the bannister spindle holes.

Allegra Book Stop2

I want do do this so much, but that would mean either moving, adding a floor to the house, or building a staircase to nowhere.

Guess we’ll see how much of the Summer is left, once I get the garage cleaned out . . . 



I’d never heard of Hot Toys, a Hong Kong company that makes hyper-real 1/6-scale limited-edition figurines for serious collectors—or kids with seriously indulgent parents.**

But I’ve heard of them now. And I want this one:

Coulson Hot Toy

Click the image for a slideshow of the amazing details—this guy comes with Captain America Trading Cards***

Before you start that comment telling me I’ve finally gone ’round the bend,^ at least one other person thinks these miniAgents are the bee’s knees:

Clark Gregg and Mini Me

So there.

But this does leave me with one question: Will Hot Toys be doing one for Clint Barton, too?

‘Cause I only really need one kidney . . .


Random Crocheted Turtle Cozy!

Bowser Turtle Cozy

My kids, who are waaaay more into MarioKart than I am (I blame Watson), immediately knew this was a Bowser-themed turtle sweater.

I just wanted to make one for All the Box Turtles, so they would be nice and comfy when they hibernated this winter.^^

(but only if there are knitting instructions, too, because crocheting and I aren’t friends^^^)


Seattle Public Library:

Unlike Mike, the Seattle Public Library only wanted to keep their books upright just long enough to break he world’s record and score some great PR for their Summer Reading Program.

I’m not just envious of the stunt, I’m envious of all that gorgeous space they had to stage it!

Four people sent me this yesterday, including two librarians who thought it was awesome.  All of my co-workers thought it was great, too, especially the Youth Services people.

But when I showed it to my boss, she said, “That’s great, but who’s going to get all those books back on the shelves?”

Maybe that’s part of the halfway prize in the Reading Program?


*Of course, I’m bringing my laptop along—for writing, thank you very much, though I’m packing my legal pads, and favorite pens, too-.  I’m too paranoid to leave it behind, sitter or no sitter.

*Not me, no way, no how.  I don’t actually know how much Hot Toys are, but I assume they’re on the extortionate end of the collectible figure range and,  as I commented yesterday on SMBT’s post about the Romance Novel Barbie & Ken setmy kids would have any limited edition I bring home, regardless of price or character, out of the box and indoctrinated into the Barbie Nudist Colony™ in their playroom before I could scream, “Collectors Edition!”

**If you don’t know why that’s absolutely perfect, go watch the first Iron Man, selected scenes from Thor (YouTube ’em), and The Avengers. And then come back and squee with me.

***And by the way, oh please, that  bend was three bends ago—my brain is like NASCAR in a metaphorical canoe.

^”But Sarah,” you may be saying, “turtles are cold-blooded!  Sweaters will have no effect on them.”  To which I reply: I don’t knit sweaters to keep others warm.  I am a mother—I knit sweaters for others because I feel cold on their behalf.

^^Ironically, there are too many random loops for me and I’m never sure which one I should be, for want of a better term, hooking.