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I am bemoaning the lack of a long weekend for the 4th of July this year, and I think I am not alone with this. The 4th on a Wednesday is just not a wonderful way to celebrate the old red, white and blue. But I am going to embrace this for what it is --- another day to enjoy some reading. When I travel while I gather great intel about books, I barely have time to read. Usually it’s just a chapter or two before I go to sleep. Any free time is spent working with the office, or writing. In fact, last weekend in California, I never even saw the pool.

Today and through Monday, I will be attending the American Library Association Conference in Anaheim. I flew in a day early to visit with Edie Locke, who was Editor-in-Chief of Mademoiselle magazine when I started there back in 1978. It’s been 32 years since we have seen each other. We had not even been in touch with each other until this last January when I wrote her a note on Facebook. From there we’ve had a lively email exchange that included my reading pages of the manuscript of her memoir that chronicles her life from her childhood in Austria to life under the Nazi regime to her move to the States as a teen during the war and to her ascendancy to editor-in-chief, as well as her career beyond her “Mlle days” with the first fashion and style show, which aired on cable television. And, of course, in between are great stories about the fashion and magazine scene during those years. It’s quite a story from a vibrant woman who’s led one amazing life.

Last weekend, after a rip-roaring week of racing around New York at BEA, it was “Reading Time.” The Monday night of the show, I was at a dinner where Mark Shriver spoke about his book, A GOOD MAN, a memoir about his father, Sargent Shriver, which just came out last week. After his father passed away, people would stop and tell him that his father had been “a good man.” Mark looks at what that means in this book. It looks beyond his dad’s role as founder of the Peace Corps and co-founder with his mother of the Special Olympics, and instead looks at the person he knew as dad. It makes you think about what people will remember about you. And for Mark, it’s a lot of little things that made his dad great, as well as the big things people know him for.

I wish that I had worn a pedometer this week when I walked around BookExpo America (BEA)! It literally was miles of aisles of walking to see books --- and authors. Yesterday was the only time I had to stroll the floor to see “everything.” In summing up what happens at BEA, three times Greg and I headed towards one booth that we wanted to visit and got sidetracked, and only today did I realize that I never made it there. This week has been all about discovering gems you can't wait to read and talking about old favorites. You start out with one plan and then something else catches your eye. It was a really informative and eventful few days, and I have stacks of notes to review to line up what's going to be a stellar fall/winter of reading. Not to mention summer!

Last Friday, after we hit send on the newsletter, I zipped out to the local nurseries looking for plants. I wanted interesting flowers this year, thus when I found black petunias with yellow stripes as well as citrus-colored ones and yellow calla lilies I was smiling. By the fourth nursery, I had amassed a wild array of plants in bright colors (Note: There are no turquoise ones). I managed to plant 36 containers of flowers in six hours on Saturday; yes, I counted at the end and thought, “Okay, maybe you overdid this!” But the explosion of color in the back of the house is spectacular and looking at it makes me smile.