Somehow I thought that my life would get simpler once school started. I thought once the kids were back in school I would start acting like the conscientious self-employed person who swore, absolutely swore to her web-marketing guru friend back in January that she would faithfully post updates at intervals no greater than a week.

You may have noticed that hasn’t happened. Here’s the thing: My time isn’t spare unless I plan to make it so, and then follow through on the plan. That requires not saying — or thinking, I suppose — things like, “Ha ha! School has started! The long long summer days of kids farting around the house have mercifully come to an end for another year! I can now add a whole bunch of new interesting commitments to my schedule!”

Not to mention that — I always forget this — I’m an adjunct professor! I teach in the fall; when the kids go back to school, so do I.

But it’s been a great couple of weeks (three weeks?). The Mr. Mopps’ party? Fantastically fun! I printed up 100 posters and all but four of them were printed by kids and many of the kids ventured further into the studio to start coloring them in on the spot. Here’s a great big picture of the beautiful day and the crowd on the sidewalk. That blue carpet right in front of the studio was the toddler mosh pit and storyteller listening venue (consecutively not simultaneously), so Family Book Lab got lots of exposure (thanks Devon and Jenny)!

I know that if I start trying to size and place the photos the way I want them, I’ll get sucked into the immense time-eating vortex of trying once again to figure out why WordPress won’t lay out my photos the way I want it to, so I am going to bang ‘em all out in thumbnails at the end of this post and you can just click on ‘em to see them bigger. If anybody reading this is intolerably depressed by and/or overcome with pity for my pathetic WordPress ignorance, that person is not just free to come by and teach me how to fiddle more productively but positively invited hereby to do so.

What other interesting new commitments, you may ask (for after all, what could be more interesting than spending a few hours being utterly infuriated by allegedly simple blogging software?) Well, I spoke to the quarterly meeting of the Northern California chapter of the Association of Personal Historians in the middle of September. I discovered their existence by the slimmest of chances: in a semi-public building near my house I found on a chair someone’s discarded agenda from their last quarterly meeting, in which they discussed topics that seemed to overlap quite a bit with things I do professionally. I thought I should see if I could persuade any of the Personal Historians to sign up for my Time and Love photo album class, but I got to work on the email introducing myself too late in the evening and after a long day, so that although I managed to send the first email properly, on the next one I forgot to attach the file the message referred to, and the one after that went out to one person with another person’s name in the message. Bedtime! Time to quit pestering strangers with my incompetent solicitations. But…the one message I sent out properly? That one, it turned out, went to the very woman who had put together the agenda for the meeting that I’d found, and in September I myself was on the quarterly meeting’s agenda, invited to speak about what I do. The book/archive/history/collector world is a very small one; it turned out that one of the members I met at the NoCal APH meeting is also well known to many of the folks in my rare book conservation/antiquarian book dealer life. Very interesting! Very kind and gracious people and I look forward to learning more about what they do because, as I said, the two vocations overlap a surprising amount given how little we knew about each other. You’d think our paths would have crossed before now, and wouldn’t have required such unlikely coincidence to do so.

Next up was putting together an application for the Berkeley Tuolomne Family Camp’s Artist in Residence program. I’ve heard wonderful things about the camp, but it’s not cheap. There’s a scholarship option where you can stay for half-price if you qualify, but your family has to be free-school-lunch poor and also, at the same time, able to pay $1000 for a week of camp. Does anybody ever actually manage to claim that scholarship, I wonder?  The AIR program is (especially in contrast) marvelously generous: if you get chosen, you teach a three-hour class and in exchange you get free camping for yourself and two kids, and an additional adult can accompany you for 20% of the normal cost. Amazing! What’s the catch? Simply, that you have to be chosen. Here’s what the brochure says about what proposals will be given first priority:

— classes that they have not offered before

— classes that have been popular in the past

Hmm. You know, once you take out popular classes and classes that haven’t been tried before, is anything left but “classes we tried but nobody liked ‘em”?  And can we all agree that we kinda already knew that those would not get first priority? Guidelines, City of Berkeley-style: we know what we want, but we’re not telling. You just submit proposals; if and when we accept one, then you’ll know what we want, too.

Lastly, my dad bought me one of those single-serve pod coffee makers for the studio and now I often drink too much of it, end up with hands too shaky to work and must go out walking around the neighborhood to use up the jitters. I also find myself offering coffee to any adult who comes by (possibly too enthusiastically; I hope I’m not scaring anybody away with my over-caffeinated cheer). Count yourself invited to stop in anytime and help me use up the gigantic box of pods my dad got me at Costco along with the machine.

That party! On a bright and beautiful day, too. What’s below in the thumbnails are the step-by-step stages of the Mr. Mopps’ poster, and some kids coloring them in. Doesn’t it seem as if there’s plenty of room for WordPress to lay the thumbnails out in rows of four instead of those ugly uneven rows of three with that stupid empty space down the right hand side? Yeah, I think so too, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out how to make it happen.

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