Saturday, August 30, 2008

If I was American...

Did you catch Barack Obama's speech the other night? I must admit, I was riveted. He's one hell of a speaker and imo, made a lot of sense. I'm not American so can't vote for him, but I'd love to see him lead our southern neighbors out of the quagmire that W. has them in.
Most of all, I want their reputation restored. As a Canadian who grew up 'looking up' to that great nation next door, it makes my heart ache to see their worldwide repution sink. They've sadly become viewed as the bully of the playground, an international joke masquerading as democratic heaven.
I respect everyone's political views/affiliations, but please, my American friends, listen to Mr. Obama when he tells you, YOU are better than the last eight years. We all know it, and would desperately love to see an administration that can put you back on top.

Well that's about as political as I ever get in public. Stay tuned next week when I share my religious views... lol

If you look two posts down (go look, I'll wait) you'll see that the Kinson's bought a tent (in case of Emergency). We decided that instead of waiting for the apocalypse/alien invasion/nuclear attack, we'd use the tent to go camping :)

So we're off...
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Are summer holidays and water boarding in the same category?

I am sooooooo done with summer holidays. The kids are on each others nerves, to say nothing of the single, fragile, frayed nerve of my own. My oldest begins on Tuesday (6 days and counting) while my youngest gets to stay home with mommy until the 8th of September. woo hoo.

Yesterday we tackled school-shoes-shopping. Damn the GEOX company for their memorable marketing campaign. From the moment we walked into Kiddie Kobbler, my two started chanting "Ge-ox, Ge-ox." And every now and then my four-year old would add "Geox breathes! But water can't get in!"
I, of course, steered them to the on-sale Reeboks, the cheaper (but excellently made) Stride Rite...
You KNOW we walked (no, ran!) out of that store with Geox's on our feet. But hey - for $60.00, Geox also gives you a cheap handheld game - woo hoo.

Today we venture into Walmart for school supplies. I'm positivily giddy with excitement.
Geox doesn't make school supplies, do they? :o

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In Case of Emergency, Please Pack...

Boy, once you get out of a blogging routine, it's really freaking hard to get back in!!

So the trip northwest to Thunder Bay was looong... 2 days drive each way.

Day 1, hubby and I discussed world politics, shared news stories we saw or read on t.v./magazines/internet, gossiped about family members, etc... Normal husband-wife chit chat.

Day 2 we resorted to word games, geography games (if anyone knows places that begin with 'X' - city, town, country, river or mountain range - do speak up!) and discussed plans for the week.

Day 3, the journey home, we post-mortemed the visit, which took all of two hours, and then the silence set in. By the time we passed the stinky mill-town of Terrace Bay, I was getting antsy.

I turned to Hubby and said "Some sort of crisis occurs -- war, plague, alien invasion -- take your pick. You have thirty minutes or less to evacuate your home. What do you take and where do you go?"

Believe it or not, this conversation lasted for the rest of the journey. We what-iffed and butted our way through a major flu outbreak, an atomic blast, and War of the Worlds for TEN hours!! Remember this the next time there's a conversation lull at a dinner party.

I won't bore you with our entire packing list, but I'll share the top faves and invite you to add your own.
Assuming we're heading north into isolation and only have our minivan to fill, here's a room by room breakdown...

Office: coin collection for future currency/trading. Credit cards are useless. Grab gold and silver.
And passports, just in case we have to prove our citizenship/allegiance.

Garage: tools, including axe, rope, hammer or mallet, utility knife, wire... useful outdoorsy stuff. Tent or tarp to make temporary shelter. I later added a toboggan, incase we somehow take down a moose and need to drag it to camp ;)

Bathroom: any and all medicine in the cabinet, bandaids, soap, toothbrushes, bug spray and sun screen

Bedroom: blankets, sewing kit, durable clothes (leave the 'dry clean only' stuff for the aliens)

Kitchen: vitamins, salt (moose is YUK without salt - also good for preserving meat), canned goods and pasta/rice, oil, can opener, some sharp knives, spoons, pot, pan, plastic plates, bowls, cups.

Other: couple of books (once read would make good kindling) matches, candles, batteries, portable radio.
And finally... my iPhone. Cause after waiting in line for 5 1/2 hours to buy the damn thing, I'm not going ANYWHERE without it.

Oh - and I should mention... upon arriving home, hubby picked up a tent at Walmart. Just in case ;)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lake Superior -- Proof of God?

Hubby and I loaded up the kids and drove north-west to my hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario 10 days ago. We weren't looking forward to the drive... I mean, two days in the car with two youngsters who were bound to harrass us with "Are we there yet?" isn't my idea of a fun kick-off or ending to a family vacation!

We set off in the morning rain, intending to stop in a place called Sudbury, which is about 5 hours north of Toronto, for lunch and a visit to their acclaimed science center -- which Light (eldest, gifted son) would no-doubt LOVE. Alas, a major and sadly fatal accident occurred moments ahead of us as we approached the ramp into Sudbury. The highway was closed down and we spent a hungry 2 hours in a traffic jam and detoured around the far side of the city... leaving no time to daly at the science center.

Despite the rain and delays, the drive was scenic and lovely; farm land, quaint towns and the occassional glimpse of rivers that flowed to Lake Huron, just beyond our view. We found accommodation in Sault Ste Marie, which is on St. Mary's River -- the river that joins Lake Huron and Lake Superior.

Now comes the god part (spelling mistake -supposed to say 'good part' but I'm leaving it): The drive between the Sault (pronounced 'soo') and Thunder Bay, around the north shore of Lake Superior was breathtaking. I've NEVER seen such beauty, and I've lived in Bermuda, so that's saying a lot ;)

Rugged rocks rich with minerals making them a rainbow of colors - pink, grey, green, black and bright red. There are forests as far as the eye could see in multitude shades of green. We passed over hundreds of rivers and creeks with names like Blind, White, Spanish, Dead Horse, Mink, Ruby, French, Montreal, Goulais, Two and Half Mile, Ten Mile... next time, I'm going to write them all down.

(Pictured right: that's my sister on the sailboat we chartered to cruise around Thunder Bay Harbour)

Towns, (mostly mining or paper mill based) were far and few between. The lake, so big you can't make out its far shores, sparkled in front of us as we rounded corners in the road and I couldn't help but envy those who spent months and years in that wilderness blasting through the rocks to lay the highway across Northern Ontario.

Yes, it was desolate... but peaceful. Intimidating in its great vastness but inspiring. Scary but inviting. Both DH and I fantasized about owning a chunk of that wilderness, just because it would be incredible to stand on that land and call it your own.

(pictured right: Hillcrest Park, Thunder Bay - the famous Sleeping Giant is just visible in the distance on Lake Superior and those two little people on the hill are 4 yr old Sweetness and 8 yr old Light)

Got me thinking... I think every Canadian, at least once in their lifetimes, should endeavor to travel coast to coast. To be honest, I started out by commenting to family members that every immigrant/new Canadian, should have to travel coast to coast (gov't funded, of course) so they could see the beauty of their adopted country, until my brother in law confessed to never being out of his own province!! *gah* Others spoke up and confessed the same. So I changed the 'If I Ruled the World' policy to All Canadians :)

And me? Yes - I've been from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia, thanks to my folks, who dragged my sister and I, kicking and screaming, on road trips. Once we got there, I loved every minute :) and I look forward to dragging my own kids across the praries, over the Rockies and beyond. Maybe we'll even go north 'til we run into a glacier.

How about you? Have you seen your country? Your province/state? Share your thoughts...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Very Bad Blogger

Hey kids! Go get your mommy 'cause Wylie's going to use big bad words...

Did you all read the racking-fracking bruhaha over the non-released book "Jewel of Medina"? There's a very thoughtful commentary on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, but the snip-sniping comments (there are over 300 of them) is an amazing time-suck, blood-pressure-raising experience. Go HERE to check it out, if you have 2 hours ...
My take: I'm okay with this book because it's A) FICTION!! and B) an author's right to write and publisher's right to print and a reader's right to buy. Or not.

Christian's took exception to The DaVinci Code,
Catholics took exception to The Last Temptation of Christ,
Jews to The Passion of the Christ,
Pamela Anderson takes exception to meat.

My point? We all have sensitive points. If you don't like it, don't read it, or watch it, or eat it. Mass signings of petitions, bannings, book burnings, bomb threats, violence... NOT necessary. Just don't spend the money to support it. Is that so hard?

Meanwhile, the press machine is LOVING it, and it only serves to provide even MORE publicity to the thing you are against.

For instance, I would have passed this book with nary a thought to purchase. Now,... I can't wait to get my hands on it!! At full price, for the hard-cover :P

I've been a very bad blogger, I know. I had every intention of doing up a whole post-RWA convention posts but I find myself time-less, getting ready for another trip (don't be envious... have you ever heard of Thunder Bay, Ontario? Hardly a Disney vacation), and still very buried under laundry.

And hey -- the writing thing! Yeah, Wylie has a book to finish... (switching povs) I got a request for partials from lit agent, Caren Johnson (very cool) and Dorchester Pub's senior editor Chris Keelser (head-exploding cool).

The conference was amazing and fun and overwhelming and wonderful... and I do want to talk about stuff, like the awesome authors I met (with awesome sauce on top -- hello Gwen!) and post pics, and say more about the pitches, the Ritas, etc... but it'll all have to wait.

I did put a few pics of Ellora's Cave authors HERE, and I will add this pic of Nora (just because, how often will I get to stand 2 feet away from the woman who has THREE HUNDRED MILLION books in print (yes, they reckon there's one Nora Roberts book sold every 26 seconds)

Also must add that I had the PRIVILEDGE of hearing the new president of RWA, Dianne Pershing (sp?) speak at the President's Luncheon and she totally ROCKED. Impressed the socks of li'l ol' me, anyhoo. The theme of her speech was 'Things I learned at the boardroom table' and a few of her points really spoke to me. This one imparticular (paraphrasing):

I am responsible for my actions,

not the reactions of others.

This is my new mantra -- both for my writing career and personal life.

I just realized how nicely that ties in with the 'Jewel of Medina' crap.

Off to Thunder Bay imminently so I'll say goodbye until the end of August. Hope you're all having an amazing summer.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Too tired to talk about Nationals, kind of...

Nationals is over :(

I'm home, I'm exhausted, and I can't wait to share conference news.... when my eyes lose the blurry fuzz...
Meeting people was definitely the highlight -- Karen Erickson, MG Braden, Jennifer Leeland, RG Alexander, - hell, ALL THE DIVAS!!, Jennifer North, ROBIN ROTHAM!! (finally!), Anne Calhoun, Elizabeth Baxter, Denise Rosetti, Kimberly Frost--all authors in different stages of their careers, in all genres. What a phenomenal experience.
I did go fan-girl on Joanna Bourne, Meredith Duran, Debbie Macomber, Eve Silver (sorry Eve, but your talent tongue-ties me... ) and if Michelle Rowen was one ounce more funny, friendly and personable I'd bump off Bonnie Staring to fill the BFF role (so hold yerself back, MR!)

And hanging with my TRW buddies without having to sit through a meeting (hee) was just the best. C - put me down for rooming-duties next time!

And now I'm going to crawl into my son's Thomas the Tank Engine bed, just to smell his hair. *sigh*

Until next time,...