Thursday, September 28, 2006

Milwaukee, then Chicago....

It was an early, early flight from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee! I was incredibly excited to have 14 hours in Wisconsin. I had the chance to read to some very enthusiastic crowds in Milwaukee schools in the morning. And when I read Punk Farm and got to yell "Thank you, Wisconsin!!!" - well, it was awesome. And the teachers especially appreciated it. Now when I explained that hidden within the pages was compost bags that were from my friend Fr. Dom's compost product - Fr. Dom's Duck Doo, a teacher in the front cheered - because her garden had grown so well using that compost. Ha! It's just funny because Dom and I have known each other for 10 years from the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and as his business grew and my books were getting published, we would always needle the other for getting too famous to call. If anyone knows Fr. Dom - you know that he can be a smart alleck. So he didn't believe me when I told him that teachers were singing his compost's praises.

And Fr. Dom and I did get to spend the afternoon catching up. We walked around downtown Milwaukee and he showed me around, pointed out interesting facts about buildings and we walked around Milwaukee's new art museum building - which is amazing. I would say it would be worth the trip alone! After catching up with my old friend, I headed to my evening book signing. There, I got to meet the very talented and fellow central Massachusetts kid Jeff Newman. Turns out we grew up a few towns away, were just one year apart in high school and knew a few of the same people from high school art classes!

Then it was off to a late night drive to Chicago. You can imagine at this point that I am BEAT! And I left Wisconsin without seeing a single cow!

With a few hours of sleep behind me, I woke up to conquer the suburbs of Chi-town! And did I ever feel like a rock star in the morning school visits! They had made banners and bagheads and put together a bulletin board of "What they learned from Slug". The responses were priceless and I think that once this tour is over, I will be posting one here every few weeks or so! And how lucky was I that my tour would take me to western Chicago suburbia where my friend Galen goes to school?! For those loyal readers, you may remember that Galen was my friend from when we had that crazy monster puppet this past summer. Well, the puppet made the trip just to see his old buddy Galen. (The irony of the whole thing is that my media escort for the day was driving around Kevin Clash and Elmo the week before.) Galen got to see my school presentation, which was so cool because he knew half the art in the slide show. In fact, Galen was one of those campers who I read Slug to back in the late 90's when he was a camper at the Hole in the Wall Gang. And Galen (who always wore a yellow hat at camp) is a background character in one of my books. Galen showed me around Wheaton, which has a beautiful campus and a nice little downtown area. But then it was off to the next event -

Which was -OK. Not the biggest event, but not the smallest (that record is still at 1 kid for me - which I'm sure will someday be broken by 0). But that is the nature of the beast. You learn not to take it personally.

And now I am finally rested and off to conquer another suburban area of Chi-town!
I have so many great pictures that illustrate all of these stories, but I have had NO time to upload them! So you'll have to see a bunch at once. Maybe I'll upload some this weekend, we'll see.

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