Sunday, August 22, 2010

Days 2 and 3: Dayton and Cincinnati

We leave Pennsylvania! Hello West Virginia. One day I hope to see more of your state than the couple of miles that we have to drive through to get to Ohio. Until then, thank you for legally allowing us to drive 70 miles per hour.

Ohio! Bellaire, OH, is the home of the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum. One day I'll describe the experience of going to the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum, but that's a whole entire blog post. Or novel. Or interpretive dance.

We hit 500 miles! We're going to play and sing along with The Proclaimers song every time we go another 500 miles. Will it get old after a while? Probably. Will we stop? No.


I'm a little punchy as I write this--this book event/visiting/sleeping in a different place schedule is something to get used to.

Here's a problem--every now and again, I get a bout of early morning insomnia. I'll wake up at the same sort of ridiculous A.M. hour (the same sort of ridiculous A.M. hour that was once my bedtime in my wilder, infinitely dumber younger days) and then I will just remain awake. I never have a problem falling asleep, just one staying asleep, and this is what happened at the Super 8 in New Stanton, PA. Hooray!

Fortunately I also have no tolerance for caffeine, which comes in super-handy when I'm trying to give a book talk in front of my in-laws and their friends and other booklovers of Beavercreek, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton that is the proud home of Books & Co. This was Mark's bookstore growing up, so it was kind of a big deal.

"Your speech was a little slurred," Mark told me, "but I think I was the only one who noticed."

The first signing of the tour!

After the event we headed over to my mother-in-law's yarn shop. For those of you that are asking if I knew how to knit before meeting Mark and his fiber-loving mom, the answer is yes. After our first date I told my knitting friends about him. This is what they heard.

Me: Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah his mother owns a yarn shop.

Knitting Friends: HE'S PERFECT!

Behold, Knitting Friends. Glory in the abundance of colorful wool! GAZE UPON A SMALL CORNER OF FIBERWORKS AND WONDER!

I was like a kid in a candy store. Only I didn't put my mouth on anything.

After my father-in-law explained to me the differences between Fantasy and the many different genres of Science Fiction (who knew there were so many?) I was lulled into a glorious full night's sleep, and after breakfast we hit the road again.

"Excuse me?" You ask, "Kentucky was not on the tour schedule that I have committed to memory!" That's right, it wasn't, but we drove across the bridge that connects Kentucky to Cincinnati so that we could take a few pictures and I could call my father and scream, "GUESS WHERE I AM? I'M IN KENTUCKY!!!"

View of Cincinnati from Kentucky. Winston Churchill called it "America's most beautiful inland city." We're totally going to tell that to all the other cities we visit in order to instigate a fight. Don't blame us, Churchill is the one that said it.

I know we're only at the beginning of our journey so I don't want to make any grand, sweeping statements that sum up the experience. Having said that, you really do notice more when you're driving across the country than you do when you're flying. First of all, it takes more time. Second of all, you're not a thousand miles up so you really can notice things on the ground, like Cincinnati's weird love of rubber duckies. They're all over the rooftops and they're huge.

The duckies are watching you. Always.

According to the Google, Cincinnati holds a Rubber Ducky Regatta every year. They dump a huge load of rubber duckies into the Ohio River and the first one to make it past the finish line wins, and the owner gets a car. This year it's on September 5th. If I were a screenwriter I would totally make an inspirational sports movie based around this event. It would be like Rudy with rubber duckies. I've never seen Rudy, but I hear it makes dudes cry.

Mark and Ducky.

The event at Joseph-Beth Bookseller went pretty well. The turnouts so far have not been insanely stupendous, but the people who do show up are really enthusiastic and full of questions. It's so nice, especially when the bookstores are so beautiful and I get to sign books in front of a fireplace (WHAT'S UP, PHILADELPHIA? WHY DON'T WE HAVE FIREPLACES IN OUR BOOKSTORES?)

Me and Annette from Joseph-Beth. Apparently her daughter is a make-up artist for the touring production of "Young Frankenstein", and my roommate from camp was the lead designer for the make-up on that show. We have Facebook and my propensity to talk about anything to anyone to thank for that connection.

After the event we headed over to Lebanon, OH to stay with our friends Heather and Jeremy, who fed us until we went into a food coma. After we were able to move again we got to play with their daughter, Elli, who was fascinated with the camera function on my laptop.

Elli was holding onto a plastic toy knife, and this was one of the few pictures that I took with my computer that didn't make her look like some sort of slasher. She does, however, look like she's committing ritual suicide.

How cute is this kid? Kindly ignore the knife.

Then we busted out the actual camera and Jeremy and Heather threw Elli around for a while. It was a great night. Today we head back north to do an event in Columbus, and then continue on to Indianapolis. Mark found a hotel right across the street from Victory Stadium, where the Indianapolis Indians are playing the Louisville Bats. You bet your bippy that we're going. Hot dogs for dinner!

Heather, Jeremy, and an inverted Elli.

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