I tend to take rather crappy pictures, but this one, from my hotel window, is all right. The other, of me getting ready to sign at the service-learning conference, is lots better (not taken, obviously, by me).

It was a very high-energy conference – a lot of young people, yay, and many panels and workshops, far too many to hope to see them all. And a multitude of good comments at the two panels I participated in, one solo, one led by the indefatigable Cathryn Berger Kaye whose energy could power a small city. We were sorry Janet Tashjian wasn’t able to join us (a combination of bad weather and airline snafu) but Cathy was a very able “Janet”/substitute, and Janet herself provided comments via email.

My part of the conference ended Friday (after breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen, my favorite Twin Cities restaurant – go, Ralph Steadman, go!), and that afternoon I was scooped up by Greg Ketter of the mighty DreamHaven Books. Greg & family (hi, Lisa and William!) hosted me for the weekend at their wooded retreat (saw three deer from the dining room window, and a plethora of birds). Greg and I did the mini-Mpls bookstore tour – Red Balloon, Common Good Books – and spent some time at the joyful and terrific maelstrom that is In the Heart of the Beast puppet and mask theater (more research/frolic for my adult novel).

When I left, flying out late Sunday morning, the sun was shining for the first time all week, a fitting finale.. . Did I mention I had a can of Fancy Feast in my luggage? No? It was tuna-and-something in a rich’n’creamy sauce.