About Me

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If who we are is what we do, then like most people, I am a mixed bag of personas. Writer, bookworm, friend, are what first come to mind. Equally apt would be potty mouth, dog walker, Guinness drinker, swimmer, storyteller, political animal, baker and proud Canadian. Mostly though, I consider myself simply insanely lucky to have a small posse of near and dear ones who put up with me and my curvy, creative, curly haired, opinionated self. I started this blog several years ago with the idea to challenge myself in a myriad of ways. Years in, despite the sporadic entries, I still like to muse about the absurdity of life, what inspires surprises and angers me, books and other entertainments, my menagerie, my travels and any other notion buzzing round in my head.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Swine Flu

Piglet is still my favourite from the Hundred Acre Woods.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I finally got around to posting a novel summary on my NaNoWriMo profile. I am getting very excited about my story. If you are interested in reading it, you can find it here .

Spent the weekend nursing myself to good health. Looks like I have no choice but to hunker down and stay in bed for a few days now. This cold or flu has finally taken a hold of me. Besides, I want to be over this by November 1st, so I can devote my full attention to my novel.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Love thy neighbour isn't just a piece of advice, it's a command!

I was just sent a link to this video of Bono's acceptance speech for the NAACP award. The man absolutely rocks. He is an inspiration.

Listen to this call to action.

Lillian Munsch is Dead

Very excited about my NaNoWriMo project. I have basically outlined as much as I am going to. I'll take another glance through my notes sometime late next week and it all starts in just 9 days. Have working title and mocked up a book cover for the project. Here it is:

This is all taking shape quite nicely. Have work mostly in hand for the coming week. Man it is going to be a busy 5 weeks. But, hey! I like busy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

200 Songs

So Sunday I was all concerned over getting the flu. I still feel a little bit as though something is coming on, but for now I feel a ton better. I was surfing around yesterday on Facebook and reminded of something that put my whining into perspective. Flu is one thing, but battling cancer is a whole other thing. I recently lost my uncle to cancer and know how tough a go some people have of it.

I should say upfront that mostly, Facebook is not my favourite place. I go there from time to time to post and look at pictures of friends and family near and far away. I read updates on people. I don't play games or chat much. I recognize that there is lots of information on the site. But frankly, I think most people use Facebook as a time waster. With that said, it's pretty cool when you can find someone using this tool to promote a positive and unique opportunity to do good.

My friend Brian and his buds are doing the 200k ride to conquer cancer. Working for hospitals, I think I have become immune to the fundraising drives that go on in support of research and to combat various diseases. It seems that every condition these days has some drive going on to raise money. By far, in my opinion, the cancer hospitals do the best job at awareness and fund raising. Bike rides and daffodil drives are common enough and worthy of our support. But what Brian has done is put a new twist on cancer awareness.

As a unique and interactive way to support the team on their ride and to memorialize a loved one who may have been lost to or is fighting cancer, Brian began the 200 Songs for 200 Klicks project. The idea is simple. Request a tribute song for someone you love and Brian will post a video of him playing the song. To reach his goal, Brian is hoping to have 200 song dedications before his bike ride in June 2010. As a talented musician, you'll enjoy hearing your very own version of the song you choose. It's simple and very personal in a special way.

So, check out the site here.

It doesn't cost a thing.
It'll make a difference in someones life
Check out the songs already requested (mine is #20)
Request a song.
Share a little music.
Support the ride to conquer cancer.
Make a difference.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Positively Positive

The power of positive thinking is what I am relying on today. With every fibre of my being I am putting good health vibes out into the cosmos to prevent myself from getting sick.

I am staying positive.
Positive that because I cannot afford to be ill, I will not.
Positive that despite the fact that both my sisters are now down with some bug, I have a fighting chance at a salubriously relaxed and productive week.
Positive that the achy feeling behind my eyes is lack of sleep, that the sanguine look in my cheeks is from the brisk walks outdoors rather than fever and that scratchy throat I noticed this afternoon will clear up.

I'm praying to the gods of all things hale and healthy.
I'm channelling wellness.
I'm imagining myself positively fit and flourishing and flu free.

Because anything less than that, and I'll be positively pissed off!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Betwixt and Between

I'm in preparation mode these days. Nesting it feels like. Between one thing and another. A veritable Advent season (albeit a bit early) around here. With Mattie's arrival, we are settling nicely into our routine. I have planned to work from home during the coming week to cement our schedule and get her acclimatized to life with me and Murphy. She's gonna fit in just fine.

Beyond puppy though, I have a real sense of being in a holding pattern. I am for the first time in recent memory, between books. I am also, in between writing projects as I prep for NaNoWriMo in November. And, having finished up and closed off a few projects at work, I am getting ready for the next implementation at the end of October. I hate that feeling of destination envy. I would much prefer and try to live in the moment. But this moment, today, seems to be about setting up for the next one.

So there I was, happily devouring the last Stieg Larsson book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, when my Mom reminded me that I promised to lend her a few books. Being only a quarter of the way through the Larsoon, knowing it was number one on her list and that I'd be busy for the next few days with Mattie, I lent it to her. Now that Mattie is napping quietly here beside me, I find I'm missing that story. Won't be but a few days as Mom is a reading ninja, but I am eager to see how it all turns out! It's not that I haven't found other stuff to read (hello Pillars of the Earth!), I just want to know what happens to Lisbeth Salander.

I started to storyboard my thoughts for the November writing project. I am really stoked for this and want to make the most of the opportunity. I have a working title (Lillian Munsch is Dead) and an idea of the plot, plus a sense of the main characters. I am reminded of that notion that over-preparation is the enemy of inspiration. So while, I want to be prepped enough to write a good story and make my 50,000 word goal, I don't want to get too organized and thought out, otherwise the fun of not knowing what will come next is gone. So my prep, once the basic idea is mapped out, will be more along the lines of carving out a writing schedule that will support my ability to write 1,674 words a day.

While I am at home this week, in between making big pots of soup and veggie chili to freeze for November's project and smoothing Mattie's transition, I am also preparing for another system implementation at work. In fact, the day I return from my week away, our computer system goes up in a new clinic. It is a really weird feeling to not be physically around in the days leading up to our "go live", as we call them. A bit overprotective of my new implementations, I fret that everything will go smoothly and like to double check every aspect myself. Doing this from a distance is a challenge and a good exercise in organization, trust, delegation and allowing others room to spread their wings. I'm as ready for this implementation as I always am, the prep process is just a wee bit different. And different can be good, right???

For now, I'll prep and organize in the coming weeks and try, as much as I can, to live in the present. I will enjoy the little mewing sounds that Mattie makes, the ability to work in my pj's this week, some cuddle time with Murphy and creatively hatch and plot for NaNo, until it is time to begin anew.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sheeeeee's here!

Quick post as past day and a half have been incredibly busy. Will have more time for a more complete update tomorrow.

Matilda arrived safe and sound - incredibly wee and full of beans. She's absolutely gorgeous and quite spunky. Murphy is being his usual gentle and patient self, We only had two incidents - one where he quite purposefully stomped on her after she bit his tale, and the other when he accidentally (I think) peed on her while we were out trying the leashes earlier today.

All's well here. Am over the moon in love with them both!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Someone asked me, because I hadn't mentioned her today, if I was still excited about the arrival of Matilda.

ARE YOU CRAZY??? I thought. I'm beyond excited. I'm psyched!!

The house is all ready, with her toys and bed all set up. Murphy has been gently pawing at the crate wondering what is going on. I put a big stuffed sheep in the crate to get him used to things. He's such a good sweet boy.

According to my watch, it's less than 48 hours til she arrives. Having been asked for more pictures, and just because she is SOOOO cute, here are a few more.

Did you catch the kissable white belly on them.... Am I excited??? You bet!

Monday, October 12, 2009


I am more than likely going to kick myself come mid November, but what the hell! Inspired by a few others I know I have decided to take on the NaNoWriMo challenge for the month of November. For those who don't know about NaNo, the National November Writing Month is an international contest where writers young and old are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel (work, story, saga, tale or whatever) in a big blitz during the period of midnight November 1st to November 30th. A 3o day writing blitzkrieg of caffeine infused creativity.

The idea is to challenge yourself. Each day, you post on the site the word count you have achieved. Forcing the writer to plod on, writing something and moving their story forward, there are very few rules. You must begin and end an original piece of work during the November period. You may not write in teams (although support and advice from friends, colleagues, family and message boards is very much encouraged). To join the ranks of winners, you must simply hit the 50,000 mark. This, for those who care to know, works out to approximately 1,674 words per day. To put this in perspective for me, my average blog is approximately 350-500 words. (insert panicked looking emoticon here!!!)

My reasons for doing this are many. But the big ones are:

  • I am the ultimate Mistress of Procrastination. Having a deadline and an audience seems to improve my productivity.

  • I have only two personal commitments in November and so as a month goes, its reasonably light. If work can stay reasonably organized, there should not be any external impediment to my goal.

  • Being housebound while training Matilda, it is a perfect time to capitalize on the sleep deprived nights and new puppy required hibernation.

  • My idea book is brimming and it's a perfect opportunity to dip in and flush out a story from some of the notes I've been nursing and nurturing over the years.

  • I tend to get bogged down in the editing process. A month of letting it rip, knowing the editing will come later sounds like a good way to shake things up.

And most importantly,

  • I have tremendous doubts about whether I can do this... which means I must try it!!

For any of you who wish to follow my progress, you can find a link to my NaNo page here .

Wish me luck (or send me thermoses of coffee).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pope Joan

Beyond a good story of interesting subject matter, the novel Pope Joan, reminded me just how much I enjoy reading historical fiction. This story is a fictionalized version of the much disputed myth of Pope Joan, or La Papessa, who was rumored to have sat as Pope of Rome in the 850s. Well and vividly described, this tale plunges the reader into a time long ago when life was harsh, most average people were illiterate and men, particularly the religious and wealthy, ruled every aspect of life. To be a woman in the 800s meant essentially being owned by your husband or father; subject to their whims, servant to their desire and second class in every respect. To be a curious and intelligent girl was a difficult lot for there existed neither legitimate outlet for creativity nor any real opportunity to pursue one’s desire to learn. Superstition of anything new or different, territorial and religious stakes for power, extreme poverty and disease was the setting in which Joanna (Joan) of Ingelheim, later Brother John Angelicus was raised.

Born into a meager existence, the only daughter of a mean spirited English Canon and his beautiful Norse born pagan wife, Joan was the youngest of three children. Her oldest brother Matthew, expected to follow his father into religious life, had a passion for learning and books. Recognizing the same in Joan, he secretly encouraged her, teaching her on the sly. After Matthew’s death, she is mentored by Aesculapius, a tutor brought in to work with her brother John, who struggled with his lessons, seeing no sense in anything that did not have to do with his desire to be a soldier. Under the tutelage of Aesculapius, Joan thrives. For the first time she envisions a path for herself different than the traditional lot of most women. When John is killed in a Viking raid, Joan takes up his cloak and his identity and becomes John Angelicus. Entering the monastery at Fulda, as a Benedictine monk, she quickly climbs the ranks in the Order, becoming a learned healer, theologian and linguist. When the need to leave the Order arises, Joan ventures towards Rome, where her skills and learning become useful to the Pope of the day, Sergius.

Historical accuracy aside, I liked this book. Politics and plots for power, love and sex and betrayal (in spades), injustice and intrigue all layer together well in this very enjoyable read by Donna Woolfolk Cross. I understand that this novel is being made into a movie. I can see this plot lending itself well to film in a “Name of the Rose” kind of period piece.

In the back of the book Cross includes an essay entitled “Was There a Pope Joan?” Her conclusion is what struck me the most. In discussing the difficult times that existed for women of Joan’s day, Cross commented: “The light of hope kindled by such women shone only flickeringly in a great darkness, but it was never entirely to go out. Opportunities were available for women strong enough to dream. Pope Joan is the story of one of those dreamers.”

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Bev Factor

Today is my Mom’s birthday. It’s also Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and in our household, we always celebrate the two things together (along with the birthday of my youngest brother, Chris). It seems very appropriate the twofold purpose of this weekend’s festivities. For a day when we are meant to remember all we have to be thankful for in our lives is well marked by acknowledging the most significant person in my life and the thing I am most thankful for: my family.

In her 70s, Bev or “The Bev” as we affectionately call her is a dichotomous mix of strength and gentleness. Busy and very involved in her community helping those in need, to them she is a source of encouragement and a leg up. To her family she is so much more: our teacher, nurse, problem solver, costume maker, compass, chauffeur, soft place to land, muse, travel companion, sounding board, conspirator, task master, cheerleader, sentinel, she is our heart.

I have frequently remarked here of the importance of family and the wonderful gang I have in my life. All the confidence I have and the gifts I have developed are directly attributable to the influence and inspiration of my Mom, Bev. For her, today and always, I am incredibly thankful.

Much love and happy birthday, Mom!