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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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I went to my sister's place yesterday and helped out with the kids since she was sick. Picked Annie up from her morning kindergarten class. Waiting mothers were clustered on the grass in front of the school, chatting as they waited for the kids to be let out. When the school doors finally opened, the teachers called out the names of children whose caretakers had arrived, one at a time.

Felt a burst of auntly pride when it was Annie's turn to come out. She looked pretty darned cute, clutching a drawing in one hand and her school bag in the other, beaming when she saw me. There was an envelope and a piece of paper pinned to the back of her coat (when Ruth opened them back at home, it turned out they were a birthday party invitation, and a letter about an upcoming open house).

While I was putting Annie's bag into my knapsack, a little boy named Andrew came up and introduced himself. I asked Annie about him on the way home. She told me that Andrew had asked her to marry him when they grew up, and that she had said yes. A huge smile crossed her face then, and she said, "I -really- want to marry Andrew! I LOVE him!" Hm...I should have grilled Andrew more intensively to check out his credentials. Ah well, next time.

As we started to walk home, Annie suddenly asked, "Why are you walking so fast?" And of course she was right; I was virtually pulling her along the sidewalk. Augh, more evidence that I still need to learn to SLOW DOWN in general. I apologized to Annie, told her she was right, and forced myself to walk at her pace. We weren't in a hurry, after all; the whole day was ours.

So I looked at the flowers Annie pointed out, crouched with her to watch some ants scurrying across the sidewalk, waited while she jumped up to touch a branch hanging down from a tree. And gradually felt myself start to relax; I had no choice. :-)

Went out with our friends Alison and Jeff last night. We talked about our upcoming hiking trip, did some equipment planning. Alison's pleased that I'm experimenting with chocolate brownies. :-D We're all pretty hyped about the trip. Looks like five of us will be going: Parki, Jeff and me, Jeff and Alison. Should be fun!

Alison is going to Japan for four months (!) on a work assignment (she works for the NBA). Jeff and I might be going to visit her in the fall, which would be veryvery cool. I've never been to Japan. I'd love to be able to see where my mom grew up.

Today's Blatherpics:

- I took this photo of Annie on the walk home from her school.

- Reading "Ten Minutes To Bedtime" to Sara and Annie.

- Jeff, Jeff, and Alison last night.

Feel free to suggest a daily poll question.

Today's Poll: (Courtesy Sherman Dorn)

Have you ever killed a plant through neglect?

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