This Would Be A Sweet April Fools. But It Isn't.

Ah,  American health care.   Truly, you are an admirable foe.  One of your many mysteries in the Flex Spending Account.  Supposedly at the beginning of the year we intuit how much money we will spend on health care the following year, and if we predict correctly, we get to use  it tax-free.  If we guess incorrectly, the money is gone.  You, my friend,  are like a Japanese game show. My Flex Spending Year was winding down, yet money remained.  A lot of money.  Which begged the question, which part of me to fix?  I made a list of what was wrong with me and then played MASH until one thing remained.  Which is how I ended up in physical therapy.

My first day of PT I filled out a  questionnaire and I swear, it's like they were reading my mind:

Do everyday activities make you dizzy?

Do you find yourself walking into walls, furniture, and and other large objects?

Have  others mistakenly thought you to be inebriated?

Amanda, my physical therapist, rocks.  Her assistant, Adam, not so much (ha!  That's just a joke in case any of the fine people at Performance West read this).  After a few visits, I realized I was bringing down the house with my mad skillz, yo.  Never before had I felt so coordinated.  Then I spied this brochure in the office:

If you'll note the couple in the above picture , then multiply it by 10, you'll get an idea of Amanda's clientele.

And me.  So the rock star.

In other rock-star-but-not-really news, I am featured in the latest issue of the ALAN Review, a journal for the Assembly on Adolescent Literature of the National Council for Teachers of English.  The article, titled "An Intersection of Meaning:  A Conversation with Emily Wing Smith," is by the lovely and talented April Brannon.  April is an English  professor at Cal State Fullerton who chilled with me at my first ALAN conference two years ago.  Thanks, April.  Enjoy your month.

And you enjoy it, too.

TrainBuddies And Other BFFs

Those of you who know me, or are regular readers of this blog, know I love me a good Game Night.  And my game of choice?

Ticket to Ride, or "Train" as it is affectionately known by the Friday-night Train group consisting of me, Daniel, my sister Juliana and bro-in-law Reo.

The best part of Train is when two players build on parallel tracks and call out "Train Buddies!"

As you might have guessed, this is not actually a rule.  In fact, I doubt anyone else does it.  But in our group it's a long standing tradition.

I was reminded of Train Buddies when a picture surfaced from YA writer extraordinaire  and French-fry sharing-BFF Sarah Ockler.

This photo was taken at lunch one day during last year's National Council for Teachers of English convention in Philadelphia, and it is full-color proof that I am, indeed, BFFs with Rebecca Stead, this year's Newbery medalist.  If you'll direct your eyes to the back row, from left to right, you will see famous authors Rebecca Stead, Sarah Ockler, and then ME!  On the bottom row, David Macinnis Gill, Jo Knowles, and of course, Sara Zarr (who is my friend in real life, so she doesn't really count.   Let's get back to the imaginary friends, shall we?)

Now, you might think that we were all eating lunch on a train, because, you know, why else would this picture of buddies remind me of  Train Buddies?  Alas, this picture was taken at one of those boring stationary restaurants.

The picture reminded me of Train Buddies because I took the train from my hotel to the conference every day, and it ended up being one of the best parts of the trip.   Unlike my imaginary buddies at this table, who likely don't remember my name, my buddies from the train...well, they probably don't remember my name either.  But we did get to bond over  our jaunt into the city.

I met two English-teachers from Arizona who taught at an almost entirely Spanish speaking school.  I met a girl from SoCal who was following Phish on their comeback tour.  I met a local who worked for the fine state of PA, who was one of the most gracious, caring women I've ever known.  I met a teacher from Ohio who knew all about Mormonism--because of what she had learned in a scrapbooking magazine!

Too bad it's so abnormal to take pictures of the inside of a train car.  I'd love a picture of those buddies most of all.