Book Hippo

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Well we had a pretty good Christmas and holiday over all. I know, I know, it isn't over yet. There's still New Years Eve and New Years Day to go through before we get back on our usual schedule. Okay. But I like to take stock before the new year, just to relax a bit in the in-between week and think whether it was good this year. I think yes. We had a great turkey. We had great presents. Everything came off beautifully. So it was good. What's New Years anyway but a chance to get sloshed? I might buy David a bottle of wine. I got him a new brand this year Hanging Man and he liked it very much. But it was white. He likes red better. Or maybe an Italian wine. He hasn't worn his cap yet. I got him one that has a maple leaf. Of course, one thing, my birthday is in February. So I'm looking forward to that. So all in all, this time of year is good to me and it always has been. So I'll see you all in 2016 and have a great one.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dream Graves

At 57, I've reached the age where I'm giving up on some of my physical dreams as being 'not able' to complete. When I was younger I used to walk along the bicycle paths. One is in Quebec. I would just cross the bridge and the bicycle track ran along the river. Once when I was walking, I saw a sign that said 'Quebec City' and an arrow. I was quite excited and decided that some day, I would get a bike and go along the track from Hull to Quebec City. What fun! I would have to take money for motels and food, but wow, what a great thing to do. My only problem is I never learned how to ride a bike. No worries. I would learn. I was young, right? Years go by and I would think of my 'trip' from time to time and watch it slip farther away from me. Now that my left knee has so much arthritis that my patella rides freely, only held by the tendons, I realize that there's no way I will be able to bike up to Quebec. I didn't even learn how to ride. Bah. But wait, there's other things a person can do. Only I haven't come up with many of them. Well, one of my mother's cousins went whitewater rafting when she was 73 but she said it was real easy run, just hold on. That's a great idea. I would love to be on a river, outside. Just hold on. Hmmm. Of course, technology might make things a little easier for older people. I'm sure there is a bike that runs on a motor. Not a motorcycle, but a regular bike. Why I'm sure I could learn to ride that. Or wait. In Ottawa, in summer, they have the Corridor Special on the train. Kingston to Quebec City for twenty-nine dollars. Well, I can sit on a train. And take a friend. We could even bring our own food. It's a six hour trip. I have been to Quebec City already, years ago. But I've always wanted to go again. Maybe it doesn't matter so much how I get there.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Late Snow, Great Snow

It was supposed to snow today. So far, it's been all sunshine. And it's not too cold. Last week, we had a 14 degrees Thursday. This is November. In the old days, about twenty, thirty years ago, this time of the year was covered in snow and about twenty degrees below zero. It's common in Ottawa to hear people say, "If this is global warming, I like it." Which may be ignorant and selfish but I kinda feel the same way, too. Except I like the first snow of the season. I've always liked the first snow of the season. I love watching the flakes come down and the quiet of it all. Of course since I live in downtown Ottawa it isn't too quiet. Not like when I visit my friends out in Smith Falls, ON in the winter and they have a snow day there. I love to see people walk around in the snow and how happy they are. But in Ottawa, everyone complains about snow. People on the street, the radio and the television. Because of the driving. Now a lot of people who know things will say Ottawa drivers are especially bad. I don't know. I do often see people turn from the wrong lane and not signalling and I've gotten used to watching the driver of the nearest car when I'm crossing the street. Just to see if he/she is paying attention. Sometimes they aren't. A woman texting once almost ran me down in Chinatown. She wasn't even aware that she had done so. Back to snow, Tuesday is also supposed to snow. Now since it hasn't snowed today, I'm looking forward to Tuesday. But I'm not sure I want it to snow too much. I am getting old. Now I guess I'll go and walk around in the sun.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Monroe Isadore

Well, sometimes I don't know what to make of the world. I spend some time trying to figure out which country is the best in terms of safety etc. I used to think it was Norway and then some guy shot a bunch of kids on an island. Sweden's out, too. That leaves Finland and Denmark. But wait, what am I talking about? I heard a story that shocked me and need to talk about it and wonder how many countries this could happen in. I'm talking about the 107 year old man named Monroe Isadore, who got confused when people came to take him away to a nursing home and lay down on his bed with a gun, firing into the ceiling. Someone sent out the S.W.A.T. team. Why? I can't figure out why anyone would need twenty big men with assault weapons to contain a deaf, blind centenarian. They had a camera on him all the time. They knew he was not a threat. He would not even be a threat to a wussie like me. Why didn't they yell out that they were police? His family says he would for sure have come out. I can't get the image from my mind of ten young, strong men with assault weapons pumping bullets into a terrified 107 year old man who couldn't see them. It's clear from the tape that he was terrified, he had no idea who was trying to get into his house. Why didn't they send in some of his family? But the question is: which countries could this happen in? It could not happen in Canada where the cops will wait all night if they have to, just to resolve things peacefully. I think it could happen in South American countries and I really think it's a shame that it happened in America. Of course, happening there, it is on the news and people have a right to comment. Anyway, I think it must be hard to live in a country with so many guns although that isn't really an issue here. Except that an old man shouldn't need a gun. So R.I.P. Monroe Isadore. I'm really sorry that you couldn't end your life peacefully, that it had to end with a whole bunch of panicky cops killing you. Hope you find justice in Heaven.

Saturday, October 10, 2015


October. Great month if you ask me. Thanksgiving. My brother's birthday. Halloween. David's birthday. Of course, Ed lives in Edmonton, AB and I live here and anyway, he's got his own family. But I do wish him happy birthday every year. Not that he remembers when his birthday is. This year, David and I will not do anything for Thanksgiving. No turkey. Nothing. It's not that we don't have anything to be thankful for, it's just that celebrating is starting to take more out of us, than just doing nothing. It's going to be really terrible when I'm older. David is 72 this year. And of course, let's not forget Halloween. I'm already looking forward to television. I know they'll have Michael Meyers on again this year. I don't watch him but it's comforting to know that he'll always be there. I haven't dressed up for Halloween for years now and I don't know if I'll do so this year. Costumes are so expensive. When I grew up, we made our own costumes. Sheets and construction paper. Dad's hats. I don't know about these princess costumes and sexy three year olds. I'm sure the makers think they're being funny and cute but it's to young to be sexy. At any rate, I'll be looking around this year, I have received my book order and will be looking for a place to read to people and sell my books. If this is like other Octobers, it will be a good time.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sex And Exploitation

If there's one thing that's true in any capitalist country, is that there's a lot of exploitation. The guy bagging groceries at your neighbourhood grocery store is being exploited, really badly, in most cases. I only mention this because I cringe every time I hear feminists complaining that strippers and nude models are being exploited by the male patriarchal society. I mean, as far as strippers and models go: Men like to look. That's just nature. It will always be so, even in one thousand years from now. In fact, it's the women who say. "I may as well make money from it." It's the women who are getting high incomes from man's natural urge to look at women. It's deal. I will show you all of this: Legs. And some of this: Use your imagination. And women have always done it. So that's the way women exploit man's natural urges. Now for the other side. Women like to hear things. Pretty words. "You're the most beautiful girl." That also nature because women have a need to hear nice things to feel good about a man. And unlike men, who can sleep with a women they don't care about, or even dislike. A woman needs to like a man. I need not tell anyone that men will say anything to get a girl. Therefore men can exploit women's nature, too. But isn't that really just part of it? Isn't it just that young people have a lot of hormonal urges? And when they fall in love they leave all that behind. Well, a lot do. Some don't, there's always cheaters on both sides. So, I just thought I'd let off a bit of steam about feminists misunderstandings, as I see it, about what goes on in people's minds. I just don't see it as that bad. The guy at the grocery store makes a lot less than the girls.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Christopher Mannino

Hi people. Today is a bit different, I'm having a guest on my blog. It's Christopher Mannino and he's written a great book. I'll just dive right into the questions.
Hi Chris, I just have a few questions. 1. Tell us about your book and why you wrote it. Sword of Deaths is the second novel, in my trilogy "The Scythe Wielder's Secret." I wrote the series after becoming stranded in Cornwall on a cliff, and imagining a character who is completely alone, attacked from all sides, yet who overcomes that isolation. Sword of Deaths expands on the issues of sexism and racism introduced in the first novel, while going deeper into the fantasy adventure. 2. What engaged you about your MC? My main character is the only girl in a world of men, which is daunting. I find Susan's persistence, despite challenges, to be really inspiring. At the same time, this novel is told from two other characters' point of view. Of the three main characters, one was particularly fun to write, as he's not human, and struggles against his own supernatural powers, which both help and haunt him. 3. What made you choose this genre (which genre is it?) and do you always write in the same genre This is my second Young Adult fantasy novel. I work with kids daily. During the school year I teach high school theatre, and during the summers I work with younger children through a professional theatre company. Writing books that appeal to my students has been very rewarding, as encouraging young minds is why I write. However, in the future, I do plan to expand into other genres. Following this trilogy, I plan to start an adult sci-fi thriller. 4. When did you decide to be a writer? I was an avid reader as a young child, and have dreamed up stories for as long as I can remember. I started my first novel shortly after graduating from high school, and although it was never published, I never stopped writing after that. 5. How long did it take you to succeed and is there any advice you would give to those starting out? It took me a year of writing, editing, and re-writing before I had a novel worthy of submission, and then it took another year of persistent queries before School of Deaths was picked up. Before writing the book, I'd spent over ten years attempting to write other stories that hadn't worked as well. Any new author needs to be persistent and to never give up. It's also tricky to stand out in today's world, with so many new books published every day, but writers need to believe in themselves and keep getting their stories out there.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Groceries, Anyone?

There's always construction in Ottawa. For the last four years they've been building a big condominium and grocery store at the end of my block. The new store was what everyone was waiting for. You see, there is already a grocery store downtown, but so many people had problems with the moody staff and other inconveniences that they could hardly wait for the new store to open up. It was May when it finally had it's big opening. I mentioned that they were much friendlier there than at the other place and was told that everyone she had met in the store said the same thing. Two days later, I went to the old store because the new store didn't carry all the brands I use. It was almost empty. People were gleeful. "That will show old Mr. _____ a thing or two." Today, I went to a corner store. There's a man who works there who also works for the old grocery store. I asked him if he still worked there, and mentioned the name of the store. "Oh. He sold the store. It's now run by someone different. He's retired." So much for glee. He probably got millions for the business, perhaps even, 'dumping' it on someone. So I guess he had the last laugh. If you're on Facebook, I am having a I Want To Go To School Release Party on September 5th. If you want an invite, just contact me through my personal account.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I Want To Go To School

It's almost here! In one month my first children's picture book, I Want To Go To School, will be published. It will be a physical book, your child can hold it, read it, and hopefully, love it. I'm so excited I can hardly wait. One thing, it reminds me of my own 'first day of school'. I was used to being with my mother and I liked being with my mother. I did not want to go to school. I wanted to be with my mom. So I was upset as we walked that first September day to grade one that I couldn't talk. No skipping. No singing. I dragged my feet and asked, "Do I really have to go?" and she would say , yes. We arrived at school and mom filled out some forms. Then the secretary sent a young student to get the first grade teacher, Mrs. Davis. She came out and got me and took me to class. Mom had asked did I want her to stay and wait and I said yes. Now Mrs. Davis was an old hand at teaching. She was also one of the best and all the students loved her. Anyway, she had us speak out loud our names to each other. I was so shy that it was torture but I did it. Then Mrs. Davis said anyone who wanted to leave could or they could stay and hear a story. I left. Mom was surprised to see me so soon. But I held her hand and happily left the school. We walked home, me knowing that I had to come back the next day and this time I had to stay until twelve noon. In those days, grade ones went a half day for six months. So in a way this blog today is a teaser, if you wish to see what my story is about, you'll have to read it. I believe you won't be disappointed. You can look up the Fox Tots Publishing site on Sept. 5 and order it there. I hope I'm not giving you a 'hard' sell.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Crimes Of Averages

Now, I have a question to ask. What is average? What is an average person? Does that notion play out in reality? You often hear, when people talk of someone who's done something out-of-the-ordinary, that's they're 'not your average person'. Well, what does that mean, I ask again? Who's really average? If there is a tribe where every man is six foot and all the women five foot, the average height is five foot six inches. Yet, no one in the tribe is five foot six inches. Or how about that 2.2 kids that the 'average' Canadian is supposed to have. I have never seen or even heard of (other than in averages) a .2 kid. What you be if you were .2 of a person? Only an arm? I'm just saying that the idea of average is only good for pretending. One middle-class family my make $10,000 dollars a month. Another may make $4000. So which is average when they're not even the same? Of a family may have three kids. Another two. But the fathers and mothers have the same job. So the four person family can afford more 'goodies' with their wages while the five person family may have to hitch in their belts to make ends meet. Or how about someone who's job changes because of some government law that comes into force. A good example is man I know who sold pesticides in Ontario. The government of Ontario passed a law prohibiting pesticides. Overnight, his job was gone. Is that average? Did that happen to the 'average' Canadian? Yet he had about a 50,000 dollar per year job. (Just as an aside, he moved to BC and now landscapes out there. Happy ending) So what about this 'law of averages'? To me, it's just so much blah, blah, blah. Let's be real about people and in that way, we can be fair to the reality of people's lives.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

TMZ Girlie Punch

I was watching television yesterday, a program called TMZ. This is a celebrity gossip show which masquerades as news. But that's okay. Anyway, there was a security camera shot of a girl and famous professional football player arguing in a bar. She makes a fist with her right hand. He grabs it to defend himself from being punched. She then punches him with her left fist. He punches her right in the face, almost dropping her to her knees. Some were saying, a man shouldn't hit a woman. But I wonder if the real problem is women who think that to attain equality, they have to be tough like a man. For me, the male mammal instinctively knows all about challenges and threats. They deal with it all the time. Women seem to think that challenging someone like a man is a cute personality trait and something they should attain to be 'equal'. If women are going to say that they have the adult choice to go to a bar and if they're going to get drunk and fight, then they're bound to get a fist in the face once in a while. I don't want to seem old-fashioned about women. I'm not saying they should stay home and defer, I'm just saying that women should understand what they're doing. When a women acts tough and hits a man in the face, she's challenging him. She's saying, "I'm tougher than you." In this dog-eat-dog society, if he doesn't want to be seen as someone who is a push-over, he has a right to fight back. If a weaker person challenges a stronger one, he gets pushed out. It should be the same for women

Thursday, June 18, 2015


So summer days are here, in Ontario, this brings thunderstorms, which we are having one today. I don't mind this, I like thunder and rain and today it will be in the evening. Ontario has great storms. One of the best storms I've ever seen, though, happened back in White Rock, BC in the seventies. The trees across from our house were snapping back and forth and the lightening made the night seem like day. It was great. So far in Ontario, we haven't had anything like that but I'm waiting. It makes me glad I'm not a homeowner, though, as there are many things, like trees falling through houses that can ruin any homeowners dreams. Flashing back to White Rock, we had a tree come through our house. It was before we lived there and my room was the addition that was built after the tree ruined the front of the house. It was so cold in that room. Winters were awful and the floor was torture. But, oh well, as soon as we moved into the house that Dad built on the back of the property, we had all the heat we could manage. So today I wait for my storm. We don't need heat at this time of year. I want to go out before the rain and thunder and lightening hits. I plan to have a good time.

Monday, June 1, 2015

June Days

It's a nice hot day in Ottawa and I think it's going to be that way for the rest of the summer. I'm always a bit nostalgic at this time, thinking back to when I was in school and this time of year meant: one more month to summer! Yes, it was great to lean back at my desk and dream about all the great things I would do. Of course, there was always tests coming up and the dread that I'd failed. My whole elementary school life was spent worrying about failing and having to be seated the following year with the grade behind me. I remember how important one year was to me when I was a child, like it was with everyone, I suppose. After elementary school, I did not do as well. I lost any motivation for school work. I guess it was my fault. I had always made sure I did not get on the honor roll because I didn't want to be on stage. The honor roll kids all stood on the stage to get their little gifts. So by the time I got to junior high, I was sort of used to not working too hard. I did once think I would buckle down and do lots of work. I took a course of Mr. Bash. He was the biology teacher and his course was very precise. Pencils had to be sharpened exactly one way only. Books had to be kept a certain way only. But, I dropped out of that course. Not that I was a slacker then, that came later. However, I passed all my tests all the way through school and was happy to be finished with it. I never liked getting up in the morning from a nice dream to be faced with going to school. In fact, one of my dreams was of getting dressed and walking to school only to wake up and realize that I had to get up for real. It seemed like something I'd already done. I've always had very vivid and life like dreams. So I'm looking forward to June. I can have fun one month early now that I'm grown.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cold Nights

Finally, winter is over. The nights in Ottawa are very cold this year. When I went out shopping today, it was only 8 degrees. I was wanting to wear my flip flops but it was not possible. So I wore my leopard shoes. The streets were not heavy with pedestrians so it was quite pleasant walking to Sparks Street Mall to buy a couple of dolls. I purchased one princess and one Lucy-from-peanuts doll. Only seven dollars each. I was pleasantly surprised to see the jigsaw puzzles. For a long while the pictures to put together have been drawings, not photos. So when I looked at the puzzles and saw a whole bunch of photos - and nice ones, too - I was happy. I also notice how many businesses are closing down. Of course Zellars is gone and also one restaurant is gone and has been replaced by another. I can't figure out why some restaurants succeed and some fail. They all seem to be about the same. I wandered over to the book store and bought a couple of kiddie books and then over to Shoppers Drug Mart to buy some milk for David. So a good day with lots of walking but not too much, my flip-flops are better for walking than my leopard shoes and hopefully next time I go out, I can wear them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Past and Future

So much changes from when a person is a child to when they are older. There's the obvious change for me, at least, to living near a beach - so much fun to spend summers on the beach - to now, when I live in a land-locked province. We do have lakes and then there's the Ottawa River. Some sections have been made into beaches. Unfortunately, they are not near the downtown. Yet, there's other, social changes. Remember standing up in the car when you were little? Life before seat belts. No one was afraid to die but my father, in the mid-sixties, had seat belts put in. He made us use them. In some way, I suspect to get us to stop horsing around in the back. We never got into an accident so we never had to see if they worked but at my age, I'm grateful he took the time to care. Related to summer, I wanted to go to the beach by myself when I was four. No way, my mother was adamant, not until you're in school. Six. Now, I just want to say, my mother wasn't an awful woman but there are a lot of people who may not agree with letting a six year old go on her own to the beach or anywhere not under adult supervision. But like I said, it was a different age. There was not much said about people who kill children, in fact, there weren't many people who did that kind of thing. Nobody thought some man in a car would bother me. And I never did get bothered. And then there's what you might call generation changes. The sixties when I grew up began to get fearful after drugs came around. People warned us that we would think we were birds and jump out a window if we took LSD and other such things. Come to think of it, it was all different after kids began taking drugs. The generation gap began but for kids my age, who were being told by teenagers not to trust anyone over thirty and people over thirty telling us not to trust teenagers, it was all very confusing. I think that's where kids began to think they had to do everything themselves. They had to learn all they could, not from their parents, but from their peers and life. So now we're in a very distrustful age, where hockey coaches molest children and nobody looks up to anyone except celebrities anymore. I think that's because celebrities don't mind saying that they're screwed up whereas 'respectable' people who molest kids will lie about who they really are. That being said, I'm glad I made it through to this time of life, just to see all the changes, especially the ones I never knew were coming. I don't know what young people will make of the future but I expect that it will be a complete surprise to them. Just like it is for me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


So I'm going to have a children's picture book published. It's supposed to come out in September. I'm extremely excited because it's very difficult to break into that market. Even though I have years of drawing experience, I'm not doing the illustrations. I'll let a professional do them. It's going to be with Nocturnal Press Publications. It reminds me how much I loved books as a child. The drawings and paintings in my books were entrancing and the poems were great. Just turning the pages gave me a thrill. Of course as I grew my tastes changed. Nancy Drew was a great favorite and they still had drawings in them. Horse stories were another favorite. I had my own library card and used to go with my mom and get books. I suppose all kids know of that experience. Libraries in those days were silent. No talking allowed. It's so much different in Ottawa's libraries. They have a space set aside with easy chairs for people to sit in and chat. It's right next to the computers so it isn't likely to disturb any reading. Honestly, there is not much reading done in the library downtown. Mostly it's used as a drop-in center for poor people who have no place else to be. There, they can use the computers all they want. They wouldn't be able to afford computers and internet on their own. So it's good all around. There are some complaints from some, better? people who don't like the smell of them. But that's life in the downtown core. Aside from this complaint, the libraries are still a place where you can see mothers and kids looking for appropriate books. In my teens I was all about science fiction. Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and the usual 'gods' of the genre. Then I moved on to art books. Biographies about Van Gough and others. Now, my favorite is historical fiction although I'm open to read other things. Anyway, when my cover comes out, I'll try and post it here.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Worm In The System

My mother didn't believe in doctors so I'll never know if I had any allergies when I was a child. After I moved to Ottawa, everyone I met told me that people in Ottawa had a tendency to develop allergies. So I had myself tested and found that I was allergic to maple trees and dust mites. I received a shot of something each week and after a while was cured of my allergy to maple trees. I am still allergic to dust mites. A lot of people are. So I was listening when on one of David's crazy science shows, they mentioned a new theory of allergies. It seems more kids these days have allergies. It also seems that farm kids have a lesser tendency to allergies. So what gives? The new theory is that city kids are too clean. Yes, they say, kids need to play in the mud and cavort with animals. They must play with dogs and cats and make mud pies and parents have to stop wiping and spraying their counters with anti-bacterial cleaners. Disinfecting is killing our kids. Oh, and one more thing. We need to swallow worms. They've found that there is a certain worm present in pigs, in fact, that can cure the allergy to dust mites. Yes, for two whole months you swallow one worm egg a day and your allergy will go away. They swear it works and that human resistance to allergies can be found in worms. We need worms to protect us. Ugh. That's what I'm thinking, too. I have to admit I'm intrigued by this finding but also that I'm hesitant to swallow pig worm eggs. Maybe after they've proven it, either yes or no, definitively.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring Broke

There never was any March Break when I went to school. Well, there may have been at the end but when I was in elementary school, I attended all of March. It just seems there's so many ways to feel cheated when you're my age. What about all the cool technology that kids have? I never had that and also there was the parenting thing where we had to stay out of our parents way. And stick up for ourselves to bullies. Now, that I found impossible. Bullies seemed to me like they knew who they were, although, they really don't. They're really lost people who try to diminish others to their level. Nowadays, you just report them and someone does something. We had to find ways to deal with them. Bullies could really ruin your school life. But of course, there are advantages to being raised such a long time ago. We had to write down notes and put the subject into our own words. That I find helped me develop my own opinions and mind about things, something I don't think young people do with all their 'copy' and 'paste' of school work. Some of my writer friends who teach say young people will often highlight bit swathes of someone else's book and copy it to their own. It's a problem that they don't know about plagarism. Maybe they don't teach any law in school now-a-days? So even though I missed out on some things, I did benefit in independence of thought and other such things. So I guess even though I'm getting old, I'm ahead on points.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Is Coming

Things are so different in Ontario than where I grew up. In White Rock about now, there's probably flowers, if not blooming, then coming out of the ground. Ottawa today is sunny, bright and melting but still no sign of plant life. Trees are still bare and gardens piled up with last year's dead growth. It took me some time to deal with the difference. My first summer in Ottawa, I had to suppress my urge to go back to BC. I wanted to swim in the ocean so bad. But now I'm used to it here, so sometimes, when I meet someone from a hot country who's having trouble adjusting, I tell them a bit of my story. Not to bore them, just to show them that anyone can adjust. In 1980, the winter was cold. -20 from October to April. Global warming has solved that problem for the people of Ottawa. (It isn't unusual for an Ottawan to remark, "If this is global warming, I like it.")When October is still warm, as it is now. Still, we don't have to worry about crocodiles yet. I wore a scarf that October. The people where I worked laughed at me. "What are you going to do when winter gets here?" They asked. I wondered what they meant. It was -20, there was snow, wasn't it here? They assured me it was not, that January and February would be much worse. They were, in fact, pretty bad. So I guess it only proves that the human body is adaptable in wonderful ways. Maybe I won't have to go back to BC when I get old (to avoid the ice)and can stay in this apartment downtown. Still, I'm glad spring is almost here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Star Is Not Born

I think that some people are born for the stage. Not me. When I was in grade two, my class put on a play for the whole school. It was about a princess who was sick and would die unless someone in the kingdom found a cure for her. I was the doctor. I had an Abe Lincoln stovepipe hat made out of colored paper and my line was 'The princess is sick' then I had to deliver the news that someone had to find a cure. I was so nervous. I practiced my lines until my mother told me to stop it. The big night arrived. I went on stage, so afraid. "The princess is not sick." Oops. Did I really just say that? Now the rest of the play doesn't make any sense. I quickly recovered. "I mean, the princess is sick." The audience laughed and laughed. A star is not born. But there was a guy who although he also was not a star, was perhaps the most bloody-minded child ever. I guess it would be grade three. Every Canadian child learns the Huron Christmas Carol at some point. Our grade was slated to do it at our Christmas pageant for the parents. We all dressed up like what we thought Indians looked like, which was not Huron Indians but some sort of Hollywood plains Indians. The buckskin, the feather, you know. I think his name was Dale. He was going to play the beat and then when we switched to our other song after the carol, he would play that beat. Well, he had an idea. He would play the 'Indian beat' and then go Da da-da Da Da, Da Da. Our teacher, Mrs. Petersen didn't want him to. Never mind that, just switch beats. In our practice we witness a might tense stand-off between the two as he would go ahead and play his version. She would stop the rehearsal. "Never mind." She would say. "Just switch beats." But then he would do it again. Night of the pageant. Would he do it his way or her way. No bets were taken at that age but everyone wanted to know. Would he crumble? He didn't. Right on stage, in his Indian costume, he played Da da-da Da Da, Da Da. He had won. And I might add, Mrs. Petersen was behind the curtain. "Just switch." No use. Sheer bloody-mindedness.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Breast Cancer Screening

So I haven't written much today because I had an appointment with the Ontario Breast Screening Program. It's something the Ontario government has set up for the women of Ontario. Like all health care in Canada, it's free. It was also easy. The last mammogram I had was very painful and intrusive, although all medical tests are intrusive. It took about four or five minutes to do. I was in and out, done the whole, filling out forms etc in less the twenty minutes. I wait longer at my general practitioner's office. Anyway, I just want to encourage all women to get a breast cancer test. I know I'm not a doctor or anything but I think it is important to have a test. I'll be going back in two years unless they find something. David drove me. Funny though, I thought since yesterday was so mild, today would be, too, but no, it's cold today. Cancer is getting more and more common, I think. My mom died of lymphoma and my step-mom died of breast cancer. In fact she had two types of cancer. I think that the reason more people die of cancer these days is because there's not much left to die of. They've conquered smallpox and cholera, bubonic plague and have done away with polio in the western world. Well, there is malaria and bilharzia in Africa, but for us, most of the worse things are gone. So in steps cancer. By the way, men can get breast cancer. Cancer can strike anyone. Remember on the right side of my blog there's a contest. One winner 53 e-books. Beggar Charlie is one of them.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


For some reason, this past night I dreamed of Stanley Park. It's situated on the western tip of Vancouver and is a favorite place for people to stroll and jog. Homeless people have been known to camp there. I used to love Stanley Park when I was living in BC. There is a zoo, of sorts, in Stanley Park. The monkey cage was my favorite. One day, my school went there on a day trip. My friends and I went to see the monkeys. It was surreal. A great crowd of people stood around the enclosure which was shaped like a horseshoe and hooted at the monkeys who sat quietly watching the crowd. I felt a bit ashamed at these people's behavior. Aren't we humans supposed to be more intelligent than them? But I guess silliness might just be a trait of intelligence, representing, as it does, free will. My entire favorite place was the marine park. The belugas would come over to the glass and look at me and I always felt that they liked me. I have since read that others feel the same. We may not be wrong although why a mammal taken from it's natural environment and trapped in a tank would like us, I can't figure. But Skana was the queen of the park. Skana was a killer whale. A beautiful mammal all black and white. People loved Skana. Imagine my surprise one day in the nineties when I picked up a newspaper just to read that Skana had blasted through the glass in her tank and had cut herself so badly she had died. I just couldn't believe it. Not Skana! I don't know if they ever figured out why she rammed through the window. They know it was deliberate. Was she frustrated? angry? sick and tired of captivity? We'll never know and I'll never feel anything but sorrow for the beautiful marine creature that just couldn't take any more.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dickens And Other Children

I remember reading an interview with an author who likened writing books to having children. Publishing those books was, to him, the same as having children go out into the world. I have heard this before, when I was in painting. People insisted that creating was like having children. I have to say I disagree with this entirely. To me, you don't write a story to make a whole different entity with it's own personality but you write to clarify who you yourself are. I don't think I'm being selfish here although some might accuse me of that. Now, when you have a child and someone doesn't like that child, the main response on the part of the parent is dislike to the person speaking. When someone doesn't like you story, you think about it, does that person have a point and if it's too hurtful, you just suck it up, shrug your shoulders and move on. Now when you die, the 'child' advocates say, your child is known to the world. Me, I write so that when I die, something of myself will be left behind. We don't read Charles Dickens and say, "I really like his grandchildren" which is what you say if your one hundred years later than the date of his death and have met his grandchildren who may be much different than he was. When we read Charles Dickens, we say, "I like Dickens." Unless you don't like his book then you say, "I don't like Dickens" To me, that's because Dicken's books are parts of who he was and are not separate entities at all. They ARE him. It's what I want for myself even though people may not even read me one hundred years after I'm dead. Still, it's motivation and that's what I need for right now. Don't forget on the right side of this blog you can enter the contest perhaps to win 53 ebooks. There's still time.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Weighty Read

About two years ago, I started a weight-loss program at a hospital in Ottawa. I worked as I lost 30 pounds. Unfortunately my weight has begun to creep back up. But I'm not giving up. I go once a month to a support and information group to get further info on nutrition. Next time I go, I'm going to mention a book I just read. It's called Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs. It has a lot of good tips. Like using a shrimp fork for meals so that you don't take as much on your fork and into your mouth. My group had never mentioned that. Smaller plates I already knew about. There's also much about exercise in this book and that interested me although I admit I'm not really an exerciser. The only way to get me to exercise is to take me out in the woods where you have to walk to a toilet and go up and down rises to wash your dishes and yourself. To me, I don't want to walk unless there's something to look at. Like trees, lakes and animals. Nature. I love nature. In the city I do walk but I find myself stopping to look in stores. I'm really interested in window shopping. So A.J. Jacobs solution to city life was to run his errands. He also did things like squat to wait as bus stops and talk to children. I might try to incorporate some of these tips since it doesn't seem like I'll be going out to the woods anytime soon. So if your like me and you need a boost for motivation, just remember there's all sorts of sites on the internet and a lot of wonderful books. I'm not plugging the book I mentioned but it is good, if your interested. Don't forget to take a look at the contest on the right side of my blog.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bonding Exercises

It's nice to share with someone you're close to. But sometimes what you want to be close about doesn't mesh with the other person.

For a long while I wanted to do 'bonding exercises' with David. I would set up two pieces of paper with two pens. Then I would say, "you write down ten things..." that was as far as I would go when David would say. "I'm not doing that."

So I gave up on that. But I did have another idea. I would make tuna fish sandwiches and buy cookies and we would drive to a place where ducks and geese congregate and eat them looking out at the Ottawa River.

No way, he said.

But then one day we got a message from our landlord's. They were cleaning out the parking garage and needed all the cars out by seven AM. Here was my chance.

The day before, I made the tuna fish sandwiches and bought cookies, four of them from the bakery. I put everything in the fridge to wait.

David was not happy about having to by up by seven but he did agree to go to the DesChenes Rapids which is where the ducks are.

So we get there. David is in a bad mood. He never gets up so early.

I hand him a tuna fish. "I'm not hungry."

So I ate mine and asked again. "I don't want it."

So I ate it. Then I brought out the cookies. Two over to David.

"I'm not hungry. I don't want them."

So I ate them. Along with mine. We sat for minutes in silence.

"This isn't as much fun as I thought it would be." I said. He looked at me like I was crazy. In a few minutes he spoke.

"I'll have my sandwich now."

"I ate it."

"Can I have my cookies, then?"

"I ate them, too."

He settled back. I could almost hear his brain ticking. At eight he announced he was going to visit his friends who own a garage.

"I'll drive you home."

He dropped me off and then went off. Hungry, I suppose, and a bit angry. I think there is no real moral to this story except, don't eat the tuna fish.

I've given up my 'bonding exercises'. I guess since we stayed together after that, we're good and bonded.

Now, my ebook, Beggar Charlie is on a giveaway. 53 Books, 1 winner

It's on Rainy is the Dark Blog 

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