Wednesday, November 6, 2013

6 years

My baby girl is 6 today and Scott has all the pictures so far on his phone. Not sure how we ended up without a camera and a disappointing collection of cell phone photos over the past six months. We'll fix that before Christmas comes, getting a new camera will be high on our list.

Books! Along with books which are always on my list. I'm reading whenever I get a chance with a dog curled up at my feet or beside me in front of our fireplace. I quit facebook and am watching much less tv. I'm reading Elizabeth Gilbert's novel right now The Signature of All Things, and am enjoying it, a chapter here and there interspersed with an essay from Ann Patchett's new book This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, she's always one of my very favourites. I loved LOVED The Good Lord Bird by James McBride and will be supporting it as a pick at the library in the upcoming weeks. Great read. I also would suggest Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment. Just in case you're looking for something great.

Birthday morning began here before 6am, she was up before the dog! I will get pictures up soon. She opened gifts of books, lego, stuffed animals (such a favourite for both kids right now), art supplies and the list goes on. She stops and reads each card word for word. She stops to draw a picture of herself (as a werewolf of course) with half the gift bags still to unwrap. Watching her draw gives me the same feeling I used to get when I'd watch Mister Dressup as a kid. Her patience and confidence amazes me. She wants to be a scientist she told me the other night. Or an artist, probably both. I bought her her first Ramona Quimby which does look a tad outdated (1968 pub date!!) but she'll devour it.

Books and family. The sum of my days. Running to get things done for them and sitting to read for me. My own written pages are also piling up, for myself, for now.

Good to be here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

England 1 and Things

Me peeking out of the phone booth.

We've been home since the beginning of the month, a month that has passed too quickly. It's hard to believe next week is back to school. But our trip was wonderful and I will write about it all and put up pictures soon. Every second was perfect, the weather, the time alone with Scott, watching Top Gear with tea and crisps and my family, a new book by JK, Cardiff and Doctor Who, seeing Martin Freeman (oh yes I did!), just being in the UK! Sadly, the day we were home Scott's back went out and we've yet to find it. Before, I'd spent the entire month of July sicker than I remember being in years and so besides summer with the kids which is one of my favourite times, the best of our summer was this trip.

Hey, the power just went out.

Something I'm ready to announce and talk about is the book I'm having a small story published in this fall called "Bare With Me". The book is an anthology of stories about breastfeeding, my tiny contribution is rather light-hearted, a specific moment I'm sure all nursing moms have experienced. I love writing those moments, tiny bits stolen and pinned down on the paper like a snapshot. The book is called Have Milk, Will Travel and was edited by Rachel Epp Buller. That would be enough wouldn't it, a first publication. However I get to be part of the Toronto launch for this book, a night sitting on a panel with Rachel, and writers Carrie Synder and Kerry Clare. I will read my piece and do a small talk and wear my amazing new boots and there will be people and wine and food. Scott is coming and we'll stay overnight in the city and make a bit of a fuss. It's a night that will let me dip a toe into the pond, or peek out of the phone booth.

Good, the power's back on.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Car Ride

Yesterday marked 12 years of being married for Scott and I, and we celebrated it with a family trip to the movies to see Despicable Me 2, take out Chinese on the way home, and matching antibiotics. Which, as my friend pointed out, is a lot better than matching track suits, which is probably true.

On the way to the movies, it poured rain. It was a quarter to three in the afternoon and it teemed. I pointed out that 12 years ago to the minute, I was getting out of a car, and running into a church to avoid been soaked by a very similar downpour. I remembered umbrellas held up as I dashed, well, as much as I could dash in high heels, the only ones I've ever worn. So it teemed and I tottled, but that's not the point.

We drove to the movies yesterday, loaded up with cough drops and two kids in the backseat, remembering the thunder during our wedding ceremony that made the small UofT church so cozy. We told the kids about how afterwards we walked out of the church into sunshine and bubbles and family and friends. That we enjoyed experiencing a little bit of everything that day.

By the time we got to the theatre, the rain was done and the kids may have stopped listening to us go on. But we were happy remembering, and giddy with feeling better and both of us agreed it was turning out to be a pretty great day.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Tonight I'm hoping is the night to end the cold of all colds. I have been sick with a horrible cough for almost three weeks, so is Scott and now William. Finally doctor said today it's worse, no longer a virus and ergo, I get antibiotics! Yes, that makes me happy.

Also making me happy is that we leave for England in less than three weeks.

Happy is also the many wonderful books I'm reading right now (more Pym, Cassie Stocks, Lisa Moore, Kate Atkinson...) while having the kids home (albeit sick) and enjoying playing lots of board games.

And very happy today to receive the page proofs for my very first publication since being a student. I've written a short non fiction piece that is to published in an anthology later this month. I'm over the moon and for some reason doubting and overwhelmed at the same time. That's why I don't want to give away details just yet. The support and excitement I've received from friends is outstanding.

Now off for some show watching, something British, to put us in the mood for our trip. Train tickets are booked, as are hotels and a few events. If someone had told me a  year ago this was the summer I'd get to go back to the UK and be published, I don't think I would have believed them. Not sure if I do even now.

Also, tomorrow Scott and I have been married for twelve years and nothing, nothing beats that.

Friday, June 21, 2013

On Taking A Book for Granted

I admit to two things about my reading. I never reread books, and I read more slowly than I wish. I am sure they are connected. I read slow, there are so many books to devour, thus I have no time to reread anything, even my long deepest loves. Or so I have thought.

The looming end of school next week has got me running. So much to get done before kids are home. Finish the last draft for a new story, read and read some more. The books have been smaller, and they've been read more quickly. I've been proud of this, that my rate of devouring might just be getting better. Barbara Pym's 'Excellent Women' flew by in a few days, as did Ania Szado's 'Studio St Ex', and I loved it. The characters and images flashing across my eyes, their stories running forward and taking me with them. This was how I figured summer would be.

Until I met Anakana Schofield's 'Our Woman' and made the mistake of carrying on as I had been.

Schofield's novel, 'Malarky' does not run, nor does it scoop you up comfortably and carry you along with ease. It is a story that dips and turns and lets you feel you're on solid ground before spinning back on itself, leaving the floor to drop out from beneath your feet. It's not easy and it's beautiful. The main character, middle-aged 'Our Woman' is trying to figure things out, as much as the reader is, providing what may or may not have brought her to the place she is at the end of the novel; her furious love for a son whom she finds doing unspeakable things in the barn with another man, her almost 'coming of age' affair with a man after discovering her husband has been up to unspeakable things of his own. She is learning about grief and not pushing it away while at the same time trying to hold on to something. To do so, her path is anything but linear, like Schofield's writing of this novel- in-episodes, and it should have slowed me down.

I finished this book wondering, knowing, I would read again and this made me take great attention to Lisa Moore's guest post on the Anansi website this week about rereading books and why it may be important, despite the desire to gobble up more and more of what else is out there. Moore writes that "this may be a lesson, concerning the desire to know a whole story without allowing the proper passage of time to absorb it into the bloodstream." And for me, by reading 'Malarky' as quickly as I did, the time I may have saved wasn't worth it. I should have expected more of this book from the start and of myself. I should have taken the extra bath, stayed awake a little later at night, let the kids play on the Lego website a little longer.  So I'm going back to my slower reading for the summer, will not worry about keeping a tally of the books I've read by the end of August because if I've visited and revisited characters like 'Our Woman' and even if the weeds in my garden are embarrassingly tall, I'll be all the better for it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A thought and a wonderful line

I just realized that next month I get to wake up in the UK eight times.

"I've learned to act rather than wonder."  Anakana Schofield, 'Malarky'.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy and Good

Things are good around here, great really. Lots to be happy about.

William turned eight!

He had a party, friends over for Lego and games and cakes. He was thrilled, day deemed 'best day ever - EPIC!" We let him choose dinner, take-out burgers and fries and ice cream and cupcakes all while watching Batman Lego movie. Dog was sick and let us eat on the couch in peace. William's big now, 8 is big! He's almost finished reading a book without pictures and over three hundred pages and I must contain my excitement for fear of scaring him off and sending him back to the world of comic books forever.

Other good things now.

Sunday morning walks. Grab some breakfast and go to the park or somewhere new.

Stopping to watch a minor league baseball game. William thinks he'd like to play.

 Coming home and making mudpies and grass salads for dinner.

Finding these in our vegetable garden.

Making myself more bunting for my office while Scott bbq's dinner.

Warm enough for pjs in the backyard for Bingo's last outing of the day. Out in a garden that's been attended to and loved.

**And things to look forward too.

Excellent books lined up to read, including newly discovered Barbara Pym.

Trip to England at the end of July!

My first publication this summer! Don't want to say anything else yet except that it's an essay in a lovely collection of women's writing.

(I just erased four exclamation marks, they were making me tired.)