Thursday, September 9, 2010


It's always nice to come home to find that the cat hasn't gruesomely murdered the housesitter. As I write this, Tilda the Much Maligned is on me like white on rice, and has been for the past twelve hours. She seems extremely happy to have us home, which will last right about until I wrestle her down and clip her claws. Then she'll just be extremely happy to have Mark home.

Here are some numbers for The Popularity Papers Goes Midwest Tour:

4,728 miles
14 states
11 hotels
9 visits with friends
10 book events
19 book stores visited
4 motel waffles consumed
2 couples married
3 friends gave birth
2 friends who live in Ohio named Jessica but who are more often than not called "Jessi"
2 baseball games
4 run-ins with the Wimpy Kid Ice Cream Truck
14,827 insects died horribly on Tali's windshield and front bumper
18 different bedrooms
7 new bruises on my legs from stumbling around 18 different bedrooms
6 times crossing the Mississippi
9 sing-alongs to The Proclaimers' one-hit wonder "500 Miles"

Bookstores that hosted events--

Books & Co. in Beavercreek, Ohio
Joseph-Beth in Cincinnati, Ohio
Cover to Cover Books in Columbus, Ohio
Kids Ink in Indianapolis, Indiana
Puddin'Head Books in St. Louis, Missouri
Bookworm in Omaha, Nebraska
Barnes & Noble in Rochester, Minnesota
Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Wonderland Books in Rockford, Illinois
Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Friends and family that invited us to stay with them and raid their refrigerators--

My in-laws in Beavercreek, Ohio, the first stop on the tour, who brought all sorts of knitters and one of Mark's former teachers to the Books & Co. event

Heather, Jeremy, and little Elli, who entertained us mightily with her dancing skills in Lebanon, Ohio

Sonia, Michael, and Bear, who hosted us in Des Moines the week before their wedding in LA, because they had nothing better to do

Anna and Jeremy, who will, one day, witness my awesome bowling skills

John/Brother Stephen, who needs to find a way to catch this season of Project Runway because the new hour and a half format is EXCELLENT

Kathleen, Eric, Julia, and Ari, who are to blame for Mark's newfound addiction to Rock Band

and Jessi, Marc, and Ben, who actually gave up their bedroom so that we would be more comfortable (Jessi and Marc, Ben got to stay in his own crib)

Amazing, right? We saw the Great Plains, and the Rockies, and Mt. Rushmore, and Buffalo Bill's grave, and the gift store at Buffalo Bill's grave, we ate Indian food in Cheyenne, I didn't eat Spam in the Spam Museum, we took naughty photos of the Jolly Green Giant, and witnessed some dear friends get married. It was quite a journey, one that I'll never forget, mostly because we took a billion million pictures.

But it's not over, folks. Tomorrow night I'll be at the Lititz KidLit Festival (and I just found out that there's a chocolate factory in Lititz, uhmahgawduhmahgawd) and on Saturday I'll be at the Princeton Children's Book Festival. This tour may be over, but the touring continues.

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