Home. Bed. Sleep.

That’s what’s on the menu tonight. Fuzzy’s still en route back home – his plane was delayed for no apparent reason. I told him that’s the risk you run when flying AirTrans. He grumbled.

I should make something to eat, and feed the dogs, but I’m suddenly really tired. Eight hours to blogathon. I’m really excited about it this year.

Blogathon Tomorrow

Do you remember your first book? Whether it was read to you by a loving parent who held you on his or her lap, or with a patient teacher helping you sound out the words one at a time, at some point you probably made the connection that those funny typewritten symbols were the key to an entire world of imagination, a land where every story was a new adventure that you could experience as many times as you felt like turning the pages and looking at the pictures.

Wouldn’t you love to help a child visit the land of reading, and get hooked on words and images and possibilities?

Here’s how you can:
Tomorrow, Saturday July 29th, I’m participating in a BLOGATHON. Beginning at 8 AM, I’ll be posting to my blog at MissMeliss.com every half an hour for 24 hours, in an attempt to raise money for First Book, an organization that gives new first books to children in low-income families, getting them involved not just in reading, but also in the special pride that comes with owning books. (They do more than this, of course, including helping to restock the shelves of the public libraries in New Orleans after Katrina.)

If you’d like to plege on my behalf – and I hope you will, because even $5 will help significantly – please go to this sponsorship link. You’ll be asked to register with your name and email address, but you can choose to be anonymous if you don’t want your name all over the web. In
addition, you will receive about three email messages from the folks at blogathon.org. The first will be a pledge verification – that one’s crucial. The second will be a general info email. The third, which will happen post-blogathon, will tell you where to go to actually pay your pledge. Your name and email will not be sold. After the Blogathon, you will make your donation directly to the organization your blogger sponsored, and no blogger ever sees or touches a single cent, or any credit card information. If you
can’t pledge at this time, consider forwarding this email to five friends, or, if you have a blog or website of your own, please link to me, and mention my blogathon.

While we’re not allowed to pre-write, I’ve had friends and family taking my reading survey for a few weeks now (if you haven’t participated, and would like to, go here. I’m drawing
inspiration for my 49 required posts from the survey results and my own favorite childhood books, as well as from whatever’s going on around me during the day, and I’d love for you to be involved. (Also, consider popping onto Yahoo IM, AIM, MSN Messenger or ICQ to chat with me during the Blogathon. Interacting with others helps me stay awake.)

Thank you in advance for your support.

Argiope’s Daughter

Last year, on the day I submitted an entry to the summer essay contest over at Toasted Cheese, a large argiope spider took up residence in our garden. While I am generally the kind of person who shrieks in terror and calls her husband to come out with a large flat object whenever arachnids appear, this one seemed special – almost pretty, even – and she was outside in the farthest corner of the yard, so I let her be.

Friends told me that argiopes are beneficial spiders because they snack on mosquitoes, and anything that eats mosquitoes is a good thing, in my book. In addition, one particular friend pointed me toward information about these spiders including the fact that the variety visiting me is a “writing spider,” so called because of the letter-like zig-zags in the stablementium part of their webs. (There’s also this cool legend about writing spiders, which states that if they write your name in their web you will die. So far, I’ve only ever seen them write ZZZZZZZZZZ, however, so I’m not terribly concerned.)

Argiopes only live about a year, but ever since summer started, I’ve been scanning the yard along the back fence, hoping a new argiope would arrive. I enjoyed having her quiet presence last year (the pretty ones are female, the males are smaller and not as flashy), and yesterday, while I was refilling the pool, I felt like there was someone watching me. Turning, I looked at the fence post where last year’s spider had taken up residence – nothing. But a few feet away, in a different section of fence, there was an argiope, basking in the sunlight.

She may not be the daughter of my writing spider from last year, but the chances are good that she is, and I’ve welcomed her into my yard, and taken her presence as a sign that I need to write more, and a blessing upon my blogathon tomorrow.