I am home, exhausted and about to start my first day back at work.  My flight yesterday was delayed by several hours which I got to spend in the lovely Denver airport.  The company was good at least.  For the first time in my travels I talked to strangers.  We were all traveling to Seattle, which gave us something in common.

A few of the people I met:  a photographer family who live in Bremerton and take pictures for the Teamsters Union, they have chickens and are homeschooling their two children;  A middle aged man traveling with his wife and daughter who has been assigned overseas but was from the Seattle area, his daughter is interested in attending Western and we chatted about handheld devices–he had a new iPad;  A mom traveling to California to meet her best friend’s adopted son–they found him in Africa, he had a congenital heart disease and they gradually got permission to bring him to the states for treatment, then to adopt him.  It was a beautiful story.  She and I swapped young adult book recommendations.  My last chance conversation was on the Link on my way to dad’s to get my car.  A lovely young girl was traveling with her father and we discussed how clean Link was compared to her subway back in Mariland, the fireworks and how Independence day celebrates our freedom from the British.  Her father mentioned that they were from Hong Kong, which was also a British colony.

By the time I got to Dad’s place it was 10pm–1am on the East Coast–and I was tired.  I tried to stay and watch the fireworks they were letting off, but my weary mind realized that traffic was going to be hard to navigate if I waited too much longer.  As it was, I caught the end of the professional fireworks display as I drove up I-5.  Everyone slowed way down and some people actually pulled over to the side of the freeway to watch.  They were amazing.

What I would have blogged if I had reliable internet: The feeling of the union conference got better once the voting for the Secretary/Treasurer was completed.  The support for the two candidates was fairly even, although Lee Saunders won by several thousand votes.  Danny Donahue was very gracious in his concession and both candidtates reminded everyone that we needed to be united or we wouldn’t accomplish anything.  It is rumored that Donahue will be running for president in two years at the convention in California.

I spent a lovely day in New York with my brother.  We walked and subwayed all over Manhattan.  I got to see the New York Public Library, the 9/11 memorial (what there is so far), the Washington Peace Arch and Central Park.  We ended the day at the Pig n’ Whistle, which was a very nice Irish Sports Pub.  I will have a picture post up soon.

What am I reading? After a slow week with Fallen, I finally got on to White Cat by Holly Black and the only problem I found with it was that I was done in about 5 hours.  I loved the premis–Callan is the only non-magical person in a family of curse workers and organized crime.  He finds himself on the roof of his boarding school in his skivvies one night with no explanation how he got there.  He is told to go home until he has a doctor’s note that states he will not sleepwalk again and as Callan goes about getting one through a less than legitimate means, he realized there is more going on than simple sleepwalking.  Other than some crime and dubious morals, there is no reason why younger teens/tweens couldn’t read it.

I also finished The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzales.  It is the tale of 14 year old Lucia and begins with her charmed life in Cuba.  She loves her home and her family, but then Castro comes into power and threatens everything.  Her friends turn into revolutionaries, her father is threatened and she sees abuse and death all around her.  Lucia’s parents send her and her brother to America to get them out, but cannot come themselves.  Lucia and Frankie have to learn English, immerse in a new culture and make new friends, all the while worrying about their parents and whether they will ever be able to return to Cuba.   The story is pretty good and a nice option to give to those doing historical fiction reports.  It is suitable for all ages and adults would like it as well.

I just started The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and it is much different than I expected.  The first couple of chapters were a chore, but now I am completely sucked in.