February 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Aunt Susan!

Happy birthday today to Aunt Susan!

Posted by Emily at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2007

Front page coverage!

Puzzle Day makes up about 1/2 of today's front page of the Morgan Hill Times including two large photos there and a third where the story continues on A8. (The story itself requires login, but I'll link to it once they run it in the Dispatch which doesn't, but if you visit their site you can see one of the photos and our tip top placement).

Interestingly, the things the author picks up on were mostly the extra games that I bought (like Sudoku2 or made, like my giant Sudoku board with the foam numbers or the brain teasers I sprinkled throughout the room) which makes the hours I spent on that side of things feel very worthwhile.

Posted by Emily at 06:13 AM | Comments (2)

February 26, 2007

Online Course

I started an online course today on teaching online courses, the prerequisite for my teaching a class this summer on Blogs and RSS at the library school. I'm really excited about the course and interested in finding out all sorts of tips and tricks to improve the course I'll be teaching (and thankfully they delayed the start of the class until after Puzzle Day and it ends the day I leave for Europe, so it squeezes right into my available time...)

Posted by Emily at 07:04 PM | Comments (1)

February 24, 2007


Our big puzzle day event is done and I think by all accounts it was a great success. We'll see what the feedback forms say and what press coverage we get tomorrow (both the MH Times and the Merc sent reporters and photographers), but I think people had fun and people did very well on the tournament puzzles. Here are a couple of photos, many more will be up later on the Puzzle Day web site (I'll also post the tournament puzzles there later if you want to see how you would have done).

Here's me with Byron Walden, who not only wrote our final puzzle and talked to the group over lunch about the puzzle he has published in today's NY Times, but he even spent the whole afternoon helping out with the tournament scoring!

Our Sudoku and crossword champions (they each had to solve the final puzzle against two other finalists on dry erase boards in front of the whole room)

Our "marketplace" with vendors selling books, games, etc.

Shachar was the official "go out and pick up things we forgot" go-to guy who ended up running errands to get the t-shirts, hotdogs, more copies, books and games I forgot at home, and various other things. Not to mention LOTS of help in the weeks of prep as we figured out how to make the giant puzzle boards, stock up on food to sell and various other things (plus generally putting up with me spending so many hours on this event)

We had 22 people compete in the Sudoku tournaments (3 rounds and the final) and 28 or so in the crossword (4 rounds and the final). We also had a series of workshops running all day and all sorts of other things going on, including a huge troupe of high school volunteers running around proctoring the puzzles and selling food and other things. Not surprisingly, I'm utterly exhausted from all that and am going to crash.

Oh, and we got a great article in the San Jose Mercury News: "Puzzle junkies compete at library fundraiser" by Julie Patel

If Morgan Hill's Puzzle Day was any indication, the East Coast better watch out.

``We're going to show them there's a strong crossword community on the West Coast too,'' Emily Reich Shem-Tov, an event volunteer, told a library full of puzzle fans.


Posted by Emily at 07:24 PM | Comments (11)

February 23, 2007

Puzzles Tomorrow!

Ok, one last reminder. Silicon Valley Puzzle Day is TOMORROW, Feb 24. If you're at all local, please try to come -- its going to be a lot of fun and a chance to meet other puzzle-people (as well as to support our new library). If you don't want to compete, I'd be happy to put you to work as a volunteer, or just come by, check out the workshops and games, shop in our marketplace and hang out.

We're even listed in the Merc as one of the three things to do tomorrow!

Posted by Emily at 08:03 AM | Comments (1)

February 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Katy and Mark

Happy birthday today to Katy and Mark!

Posted by Emily at 07:50 AM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2007

Lessons Learned

First, I have the most amazing husband in the world (but I already knew that)

Second, if you get a flat tire, don't sit there with your headlights on with the engine not running or in addition to being stuck there with a flat tire, you may also have a dead battery. (it seemed like a good idea at the time since it was very dark along 101 and I thought if my lights were on people would see my car and not hit it... but honestly I didn't think about it at all, I just left them on, oh well)

Third, after a long while the highway patrol does come and check on you if you look stranded enough, but boy am I glad I had my cell phone to call my amazing husband instead of having to wait for CHIPS.

yes, it was one of those days...

Posted by Emily at 08:15 PM | Comments (2)

February 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Albert!

Happy first birthday today to Albert!

Hanna sent along this photo last week of Mom, Bill and Betty visiting Albert in London.


Posted by Emily at 06:08 AM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2007

Campaign Insider

Carrie was mentioned in the Feb 8 Campaign Insider about her new Iowa job:

On Feb. 19, Carrie Giddins will start as the communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party. Giddins is the former deputy communications director at EMILY's List and no stranger to the state of Iowa. In 2004, she served as the deputy communications director in Iowa for John Kerry's presidential campaign.

Congrats and best of luck!

Posted by Emily at 08:07 PM | Comments (9)

Notice in the Times

If you're looking for the notice from the NYTimes about Harold, you should be able to find it here at Legacy.com.

And I just learned from Ann that today would have been Aunt Felicia (Annie's mother and my great-grandfather's sister) birthday (born in 1887).

Posted by Emily at 04:22 PM | Comments (165)

Marty's Column

Marty (who we call Steve at our house since for months he called me Stacy), has a column in the local papers this week about Puzzle Day. He even got to interview Will Shortz about it (and includes some quotes of me gushing about how cool Will is)

A Blatant PR Push, but Well Worth the Chagrin

and Lisa sent along some photos from us posing yesterday in front of the new library (construction site) with our giant Silicon Valley-themed crossword puzzle:
Mom sent me her black-and-white crossword jacket to wear.

Posted by Emily at 07:41 AM | Comments (1)

February 16, 2007

Baby Zoe

Just back from the funeral and found that Mom has sent along happier family news -- Aunt Edy had emailed her with news that cousin Jody had given birth to a valentine's baby named Zoe!

Posted by Emily at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2007


For family members looking, here's a link to the obituary in the Santa Cruz Sentinal for Harold. I'm not sure how to give to the library fund without going through Margaret, but I'll let you know if I find out.

Update: Ann sent this note about giving to the fund:

You had asked about a memorial recommendation. Some years ago Alan and Margaret established a special endowment in honor of Annie and Harold (and Alan's parents) at the UCSC library and I think this would be a lovely place to make a donation. Harold and Annie were very supportive of the library activities. The gift should be made to the Gordon Library Endowment, UCSC Library, c/o UCSC foundation, carriage house, university of california at santa cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064. Checks should be payable to UCSC Foundation with "Gordon Library Endowment" noted on the memo line.

Posted by Emily at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2007

Happy Chocolate Appreciation Day!

aka Valentine's Day!

Posted by Emily at 06:49 AM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2007

Raves for Brian

Brian gets some raved reviews on PBS's MediaShift blog today:

The We Media site also includes audio from some of the panel sessions, as well as a comprehensive group blog that has detailed notes from every session. Not only are the notes useful now, after the fact, but the live notes by Brian Reich during sessions helped punch up the major points and “a-ha moments” as they happened. I was impressed with Reich’s fast work during sessions, as he brought up relevant sites that were discussed during panels, and built full PowerPoint presentations based on statistics he found on the web.

I talked to Reich after the first day of the conference, and told him how impressed I was with his rapid-fire work. He told me that was the environment in which he was most comfortable — juggling multiple screens and inputs — and that he could most relate with stock traders, who have a similarly chaotic work environment.

Posted by Emily at 09:18 PM | Comments (46)

February 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy birthday today to my Dad, who, as of the latest report, is almost done with their major kitchen renovations and should be ready to move back into their new place at the end of the month.

Posted by Emily at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

Virtual Book Tour

Mom forwarded along an announcement that HarperCollins has teamed up with BlogHer.org, the eminent community for women bloggers, to launch a three-month virtual book tour. Beginning February 11, HarperCollins will promote the first of nine titles via BlogHer. Three times a month, at least 25 review copies of a new title will be sent to members of the community who request them through BlogHer's Virtual Book Tour Page, located at http://blogher.org/node/15258. Bloggers are invited to post their reviews and participate in book title discussions on their own blogs and on BlogHer.org, which includes a directory of more than 7,100 blogs.

The titles that will be promoted in the Virtual Book Tour include: Babyproofing Your Marriage by Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O'Neill, and Julia Stone; Diaper-Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh; What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman; Good Kids, Bad Habits by Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg; Men May Come and Men May Go, but I’ve Still Got My Little Pink Raincoatby Gigi Anders; Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life by Dale Vicky Atkins and Barbara Scala; Modern Jewish Mom's Guide to Shabbat by Meredith Jacobs; Raw Food Life Force Energy by Natalia Rose; and How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life by Mameve Medwed. 

... and of course Dr. Dale is a good friend of my Mom's, which makes this even more fun to check into!

Posted by Emily at 08:50 AM | Comments (4158)

February 10, 2007

Bridge to Terabithia

Disney's made a movie version of Bridge to Terabithia. that opens next week I just saw the trailer and couldn't believe it was the book I remembered reading, and being completely traumatized by, years ago. Somehow I carried around one memory from it all these years, and it wasn't the kind of thing they show on the trailers... I guess I'll have to go see it though and find out...

Posted by Emily at 07:24 PM | Comments (2535)

Happy Birthday Karen!

Happy birthday today to my sister-in-law Karen!

Pictured here with her three neices

Posted by Emily at 08:27 AM | Comments (1844)

February 09, 2007

links for 2007-02-10

Posted by Emily at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

MH Times Front Page Coverage

Puzzle Day is featured in a front page story in today's Morgan Hill Times! The article by Tony Burchyns is titled "Puzzle Day is First on West Coast: Feb. 24 event will raise funds of the Friends of the Morgan Hill Library's Beyond Books campaign" and has photos of Clara and Carol putting up the letters on the Granada marquee announcing the event.

Its not up on their web site yet (as of 7:12 am), but will hopefully be added soon.


Posted by Emily at 07:13 AM | Comments (1621)

February 07, 2007

David Behar

S picked me up from work and we drove up to SF to see a talk by scultptor David Behar Perahia at the Academy of Art. He showed some of his really interesting, site-specific art, one of which we had seen in a museum on our trip.

Posted by Emily at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2007

links for 2007-02-07

Posted by Emily at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

Newspaper Ad

Our 1/4 page ad for Puzzle Day appears in today's Morgan Hill Times! p.C5 (under a column by our vet about National Pet Dental Month and next to a public notice of the call for bids for the new outdoor sports center). I hope people see it and sign up to puzzle with us!!

Posted by Emily at 05:59 AM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2007

Reading update

I'm horribly overdue on chronicling the books I've been reading -- I haven't posted anything since before our trip, so I'll probably miss some now, but here are some of them:

The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World
by Michael Pollan
(Dad and Jane gave me their copy months ago and I finally got to it on the trip and really enjoyed it)

The Labyrinth
by Kate Moss

A Letter of Mary: A Mary Russell Novel
by Laurie R. King
I meant to grab the one where they go to the Middle East, but instead this one follows that one and deals with a mystery left to them by a friend they had met there

Bandit Queen Boogie
by Sparkle Hayter
great fun, 2 friends traveling around Europe

Maximum Ride : The Angel Experiment
by James Patterson
Can't believe I haven't read this series before -- will now have to go read the sequels, left it for Hanna to try

Tortilla Curtain
by T.C. Boyle

Zen And the Art of Crossword Puzzles: A Journey Down And Across
by Nikki Katz

shoot, wish I could remember any others... they may come back to me.

Now I'm reading Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood (Sisterhood of Traveling Pants) by Ann Brashares and have a pile of crossword puzzle related books that I'm hoping to read before Puzzle Day... but I've been doing event organizing instead of much reading the last few weeks... I do have some long plane rides coming up in March to stock up for though...

Update: oops, one more I remembered just now:
The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession
by Susan Orlean

Posted by Emily at 08:01 PM | Comments (0)

Another article on Uncle Gene

Clips from one more article Mom had sent a while back about my great uncle, Eugene Sheffer, the crossword constructor:

No Cross Words, Please
by Sidney Fields
New York Daily News
Monday, May 31, 1971

There was really no way of knowing where an expert knowledge of French and French literature could lead a boy from Baldwin, L.I., with a severe handicap.

Even with dystonia, which afflicted him at 19 and deprived him of most muscle control, it led Eugene Sheffer to a full and happy life as a college teacher, an author, a friend of Franch art, movie and literary luminaries and a crossword puzzle expert. He sold his first crossword puzzle when he was 15. They now appear in 175 newspapers around the world.


"He sold his first crosswords to the papers for $5. Before he was graduated from Columbia they were being syndicated."


Among the papers Mom sent was also a letter postmarked October 25, 1974 forwarded to Gene from the editors at the Seattle PI who had received it from a reader. It begins, "In the interest of the perversion of the English language I would like to cast my vote for Eugene Sheffer. He has not only puzzled me but in many cases baffled me completely.... As a solution to the energy crisis I suggest we send such puzzle editors to the Middle East as diplomats. They would at once be boiled in oil and shipped home. We could then separate the fertilizer from the oil, and unless we ran out of puzzle editors be assured of an ample supply of fuel." I wonder if Will Shortz gets similarly helpful suggestions from fans...

Posted by Emily at 12:13 PM | Comments (550)

February 03, 2007

Silicon Valley Reads 2007

Its time again for Silicon Valley Reads, where the people here all read and discuss one book. This year's pick was Tortilla Curtain, which I finished on Friday night just in time to go to the Morgan Hill event Saturday morning. Here are a few photos from the event, the group watched a video taped interview with the author and then had a discussion led by a professor of Latin American studies.


Its also our February pick for the bookclub at work, and its my turn to lead the discussion (last Wed of the month).

Posted by Emily at 07:50 PM | Comments (149)

February 02, 2007

MH Times Coverage of BBC

The Morgan Hill Times has a piece today covering the progress of the Beyond Books Campaign (raising money for the new library)

New Library Receives $30,000 from Donors: "A campaign to raise money for artwork and equipment for the new Morgan Hill library recently got a big push from three big-hearted donors."

No mention of the BBC's next big fundraiser... Puzzle Day! (which is coming on Feb 24, if you've forgotten.. which is 3 weeks from tomorrow) ... but our ads should start running in Tuesday's edition.

Posted by Emily at 08:06 AM | Comments (477)

Wear Red

February 2, 2007, is National Wear Red Day, a day when Americans nationwide wear red to show their support for women's heart disease awareness.

Posted by Emily at 06:01 AM | Comments (2)