Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Update from the Veiled Chameleon Incubators

I am very sad to report that the eggs from the last batch (45 eggs laid at the end of June) are not doing very well. These were the smallest eggs our veiled chameleon has ever laid. Also, they weren't the sparkling white color we've come to expect from her eggs. And she laid this clutch only two months after the previous clutch. She generally waits three months in between clutches. All that to say, perhaps these eggs just weren't healthy enough to make it. I'm even wondering how many of them were fertilized. Yes, the sparks were flying between her and the male, but maybe it wasn't all timed quite right.

Anyway, the 45 eggs are now down to only five eggs. So sad. :(

The eggs below the pink line (nice touch, eh?) are from the most recent batch. The two yellowish eggs (below the line, left side) have bitten the dust since I took this photo for you guys.

Here is the latest gadget purchased for my adventures in veiled chameleon midwifery. It's an (or is it a?) hygrometer for measuring the humidity in the incubators. It gets pretty dry in my neck of the woods during the summer. And we have several eggs (five, to be exact, from the February clutch) that keep trying to shrivel up. So, I've placed cups of water and a (or is it an?) hygromter in each incubator in an attempt to get a handle on the humidity issue.

Mr Summy and Child #2 are not above reminding me of a certain discussion where they encouraged me to let the pet store hatch the eggs. But, oh no, I insisted I wanted the challenge of hatching the eggs at home. Things are looking a little grim. But this is the longest we've kept this many eggs alive. That's saying something, right?

Wish me luck. Cross your fingers. Cross your toes. Cross your eyes (a little chameleon humor!).

Oh, and congratulations to Child #2 who just passed his driver's license! As per Patti of Patti-O's blog, I'm in the market for a roll of industrial-strength bubble wrap to bundle up this child!

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Town Monday: Tea Time in Julian, CA

Yesterday, my friend Christina, our BFF daughters and I headed about 50 miles northeast to Julian, CA for a tea party. We've been planning this day trip for a while now, but life kept getting in the way. When we set off this morning, we almost couldn't believe we'd managed to pull it off. Our reservation was for 11:30 a.m. And, yes, you definitely want to make a reservation. Here's the phone number: 866-765-0832

Here's an outside shot of the Julian Tea and Cottage Arts, 2124 Third Street, Julian, CA. This house was built in 1898 for Clarence King, the son of one of our famous gold miners, George Valentine King.

Here's the motely crew. Christina and I shared a bottomless pot of Yorkshire Gold tea while the girls sipped on Mango Ceylon black tea. We munched on a variety of finger sandwiches (my fave was the chicken curry), scones with cream and apricot marmelade or lemon curd, shortbread cookies and toffees.

The house is crammed with all kinds of items for sale (kitchen knickknacks, stationery supplies, tea paraphernalia, etc). I bought a box of PG Tips Special Blend tea bags, which I cracked open at breakfast time.

Of course, no trip to Julian is complete without a visit to the Julian Book House at 2230 Main Street. I picked up two mysteries by Rex Stout: TOO MANY COOKS and THE MOUNTAIN CAT MURDERS, pubbed 1938, 1939 respectively. I also picked up the owner's business card. Although primarily a rare and used bookstore, they'll often stock new books by local authors. I'll give him a call this week. Especially because I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES takes place about 35 miles east of the bookstore at the Wild Animal Park.

On the way back home, we stopped at Dudley's Bakery in Santa Ysabel where I picked up a couple of loaves of bread and an apple-peach pie. The latter purchase thrilled Mr. Summy no end.

Click here for links to more My Town Monday posts. (Thanks Clare2e for hosting this week) Also, if you're even marginally thinking about writing a My-Town-Monday post, please do! Fair warning, though, it's addictive! Write your post, then leave a comment here. You'll be linked to.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What I've Been Up To

I found this cute photo of Sherry online. This has nothing to do with the cover for the next book, I SO DON'T DO FAMOUS. It's just a fun photo. The NANOSECOND I get a final cover for FAMOUS and permission to post, you know I'm throwing it up here!

Oh, where oh where have I been?


I finished and sent back the copy-edits for I SO DON'T DO FAMOUS. Like any normal person, I'm glad to have work done and gone. Truly, I'm glad.

BUT, this is most likely the last Sherry mystery, which means this was my last time hanging out with Sherry et al. And I'll miss them. (The next time I see this book, it will be an ARC--Advance Reader Copy.)

However, as we all know, life goes on. No doubt, some day in the future, I'll look back on this post and say, "Barrie Summy, are you crazy? Sherry was great, but look at all the wonderful, fun things you got a chance to write BECAUSE you were done with Sherry!"

Still, for today, sending off the FAMOUS copy-edits was bitter sweet.

And where will I be?


We took an extension on our taxes and now must do them. YUCKITY YUCK YUCK YUCK! This is one of my MOST-HATED chores. It is so boring and complicated (yes, yes, these adjectives can go together).

I will have a My Town Monday post up.

Happy Weekend to all!

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Town Monday: San Diego and the Poinsettia

You know the poinsettia, that lovely plant you put out at Christmas? There was a time when the poinsettia on your coffee table probably started growing right here in San Diego County. For almost 80 years, about 80% of the poinsettias around the world began life in Paul Ecke Ranch greenhouses or fields in Encinitas (located on the coast, about 26 miles north of downtown San Diego). However, for economic reasons, in 1997, the Ecke Ranch licensed Armstrong Garden Centers to produce the plants. The ranch continues to research and develop more varieties of poinsettias and also geraniums.

In 1825, Joel Poinsett introduced the native Mexican poinsettia to the United States. In the 1920s, Albert Ecke figured this winter-blooming plant would make a great holiday plant. The poinsettia wasn't very well known, and he started selling it at roadside stands around Hollywood and Beverly Hills. In the 1960s, Paul Ecke Jr. went to a ton of trouble and effort, buying television and print ads, to promote a holiday season that included the poinsettia. He made sure poinsettias were always on the holidays TV sets of The Tonight Show and the Bob Hope Christmas specials. It worked. We now consider poinsettias a part of the Christmas season.

A few interesting facts about poinsettias:
-the more blooms on the poinsettia, the more you'll pay for it
-a fresh poinsettia doesn't have any yellow pollen growing on the flowers
-poinsettias are NOT poisonous
-California is the top poinsettia-producing state
-There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias.
-Dec. 12 is National Poinsettia Day. This is the day Joel Poinsett (the man who brought the poinsettia to the US) died.

In 2005, San Diego began an annual college football tradition where a team from the Mountain West Conference versus a team from the Western Athletic Conference in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. This year's game is on Thursday, Dec. 23 at 5pm @ Qualcomm Stadium.

How do you even pronounce the name of this plant? Here's a robotish voice saying "poinsettia". Warning: it's not the fastest link I've ever met. But, now I realize I've been mispronouncing "poinsettia" my entire life!


Laura Curtis of Women of Mystery: volunteers at Mt Kisco, NY

Jim Winter: Shots of downtown Cincinnati, OH from Mt. Adams

Debra of From Skilled Hands: Python Day in Peninsula, OH

Gabe of Gabe's Meanderings: the Assiniboia Downs racetrack in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

This week, I'm the hostess with the mostest for My Town Monday. So, if you've put up a MTM post, let me know in the comments section here or on the on the official My Town Monday blog. And I'll link to you on both blogs. Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why I didn't sleep last night

On Sunday, Child #3 got poked in the eye during a water polo game. Starting yesterday afternoon, his pupils were different sizes. The poked eye is noticeably more dilated. We have an ophthalmology appointment today. Not to mention, he also has swimmer's ear. Bilaterally. The kid is falling apart at the seams. Well, at least from the neck up.

There's an new crack in our driveway. From all the recent quakes? Does it make sense to live in an area rattled by earthquakes? With zero advance warning? People here will often say we're safe; it's not that big a deal; it's not worth worrying over. Then again, over 2,000 passengers boarded the Titanic, believing they were safe.

And I forgot to tell you that I guest blogged for Random House Canada on Today's Parent about how to get your teens to read over the summer. Here's the link: A Mother's Plea to Her Teens--Pick Up a Book

Insomnia sucks. But, hopefully, I'll be so tired by the time my head hits the pillow tonight that I'll sleep like a log. In the meantime . . . yawn.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Town Monday: It's All In Your Perspective

Here's how our first public school teacher, Miss Mary Chase Walker, felt about the fair city of San Diego when she arrived in July 1865:

I arrived in the bay of San Diego on the morning of July 5, 1865. It was a most desolate looking landscape. The hills were brown and barren; not a tree or green thing was to be seen. Of all the dilapidated, miserable looking places I had ever seen, this was the worst.

We have around 146 sunny days a year and 117 partly cloudy days. San Diego County has 70 miles of beaches. You can visit the coast, the mountains and the desert. All in the span of a day. Our average daily temperature is 70.5 degrees.

These days, we have attractions that weren't even a twinkle in anyone's eye back in Miss Walker's day: the Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, Legoland, SeaWorld, USS Midway Museum (naval craft), trolley tours, Balboa Park, etc. The list could go on and on and on.

Although I will admit, the earthquakes are starting to freak me out.

Happy Monday to all! I'm late getting this post up. But it's still Monday in my neck of the woods! ;)

Links to other My Town Monday participants are here on the official My Town Monday blog or on Travis Erwin's blog. Travis is this week's MTM host (thanks Travis!).


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Announcing the Contest Winners

It is with great pleasure that I announce the contest winners. Oh, and, thanks for your patience. I know I said I'd make this announcement on July 6. I was just waiting for the okay from everyone to post names and cities.

Without further ado . . .

Here are the runners-up who win an autographed copy of I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP + a tres cute t-shirt:

AMY of Gardiner

HANNAH of La Canada

SARA of Phelps

And our grand prize winner (autographed copies of I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES, I SO DON'T DO SPOOKY AND I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP + a tres cute tote bag + a tres cute t-shirt) is . . .

MATTIE of Gainesville

Congratulations to one and all! And a HUGE HUGE thank-you to all who entered. Your support is beyond awesome. xo

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Book Review Club (July 2010)

Greetings one and all to the NINETEENTH meeting of The Book Review Club. We're happy to have you join us.

I hope you're all enjoying the summer and getting a little leisure time for . . . reading. Because we've got some great book reviews this month. So grab a cup of coffee, sit down and start scrolling. You're sure to find something that grabs you.


This is not an easy read. From the first page to the last, I had a lump in my throat.

From the author's website:
David Faber survived eight Nazi concentration camps in Poland, from 1939 to 1945. He witnessed the Nazi murders of his parents, brother Romek, and five of his six sisters. When he was liberated in 1945 from the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, he was 18 years old and weighed 72 pounds.

Mr. Faber promised his dying mother that he would survive to tell the world of the Holocaust atrocities. Now in his eighties, he still travels across the country, speaking to all sorts of groups, including school children. He doesn't charge for his 1 1/2 hour presentation. Because Mr. Faber lives in San Diego, he visits many of our local schools and libraries. Child #1, Child #2 and Child #3 have all listened to him and been touched by his words. I'm determined to make it to one of his talks.

This was a difficult book to read. It is rich in details. I had to stop reading and set down the book during the scene where Mr. Faber watched the Gestapo torture, then kill his older brother, Romek. Also, there are black-and-white photographs of people such as Mr. Faber showing his Auschwitz tattoo (161051), Mr. Faber's family, some Gestapo officers, even empty cans of Zyklon B gas.

You can order BECAUSE OF ROMEK from the author and he will ship it free of charge to any U.S. address.

All in all, I highly recommend BECAUSE OF ROMEK. This is an important book. Just make sure you take a deep breath before plunging in.

And, now, totally changing gears . . .

Let's have a drumroll for the following amazing reviews from amazing reviewers!! Please, please visit. You won't be sorry.


Sarah Laurence: THE ACCIDENTAL ADVENTURES OF INDIA MCALLISTER by Charlotte Agell (middle grade)

Cassandra of Misadventures of a Teenage Writer: A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle (middle grade, fantasy)

Stacy of The Cat's Meow: HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins (young adult, science fiction)

Stacy Nyikos: MONSTER by Walter Dean Meyers (young adult)

Thao of serene hours: TEN CENTS A DANCE by Christine Fletcher (Young Adult)

Jody Feldman: BUSTED: CONFESSIONS OF AN ACCIDENTAL PLAYER by Antony John (Young Adult)


Kathy Holmes: LUCY SPRINGER GETS EVEN by Lisa Heidke (Australian chick lit)

Staci of Life in the Thumb: AFTER THE FALL by Kyle Ladd (Australian Women's Lit)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: THE NEXT BEST THING by Kristan Higgins (romance)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE CASE OF THE MISSING SERVANT by TARQUIN HALL (mystery)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: A MURDEROUS PROCESSION by Ariana Franklin (mystery, set in medieval Europe)

Beth Yarnall: LONG LOST by Harlan Coben (mystery/suspense)

Kaye of the Book Review Forum: MURDER AT AVEDON HILL by P.G. Holyfield (mystery + fantasy)

David Cranmer of The Education of a Pule Writer: PRESENCE OF MIND by Edward Cline (mystery)

Scott Parker:HOMINIDS by Robert J. Sawyer (science fiction)

Patti Abbott: THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O'Brien (short stories)

Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout (13 linked tales)


Linda McLaughlin: SOUL SURVIVOR: THE REINCARNATION OF A WORLD WAR II FIGHTER PILOT by Bruce and Andrea Leininger, with Ken Gross


**Exceptional previous reviews are only a click away.**

Note to Reviewers: You know the drill.:) If I missed you, leave me a comment and I'll rectify the situation pronto. And award myself one less chocolate today!


Monday, July 5, 2010

My Town Monday: The Lorax Meets the San Diego Trolley

Here's a San Diego trolley.

Every once in a while, you catch a glimpse of the trolley rolling by with a car like this.

This past April, our Metropolitan Transit System introduced a Lorax-wrapped trolley car.


Because April 22 was Earth Day, and the Lorax loved trees. It's more environmentally friendly to hop the trolley than to tool around town in our cars.

According to Dr. Seuss' widow, Audry Giesel, The Lorax (published in 1971) was one of her husband's favorite books.

The famous line you might recognize from The Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” The Lorax was speaking for the Truffula Trees and other inhabitants of the forest (Swomee-Swans, Brown Bar-ba- loots, and Humming-Fishes) against the greedy factory-owner, the Once-ler. Unfortunately, the Once-ler doesn't listen to the Lorax and chops down all the trees. The forest inhabitants leave for greener grounds, as does The Lorax himself. Luckily, the Once-ler saved one solitary Truffula Tree seed, and a child is attempting to grow it.

At first, the Lorax trolley car glided along a downtown loop next to the San Diego River, but now it's operating on the orange and green lines. I'm lucky enough to live on the green line, so I see the Lorax car every few days. I think a child rides for free with a paying adult on the weekend. Child #4 and I should test out this theory.

To read other My Town Monday posts, hop over to the official My Town Monday blog. If you posted a MTM, let us know in the comments section and we'll get a link up to you. Happy Monday!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Author Interview, Verizon, Chameleon News

A couple of odds and ends....

Our female chameleon laid FORTY-FIVE eggs!! We're up to ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-EIGHT eggs now! The first batch of 50 eggs should hatch in the fall. Usually, the female gapes her mouth at me and hisses when I put a hand in her cage. After emerging from eight hours of egg laying in a five-gallon bucket of sand, she sat quietly in my palm and let me dust leftover sand off her face. Ahhh....

I was at the Verizon store with Child #3 this morning. I went around to all the display phones with internet and pulled my blog u on the screens. ;)

Guess where I am in the blogosphere?

Over at Solvang Sherrie's blog where she's interviewing me. Please come say hi. Also, Sherrie's giving away a couple of books, which is very nice of her.

Happy Belated Canada Day! Happy Fourth of July in advance!