Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Canada Day

We're going away for a few days to the lake. That is what Canadians do LOL. Friends of ours have very kindly offered to put us up to celebrate Canada Day. Like I say--doesn't matter how hard I try to work, I'm sabotaged :)

Now, I love being in the country, but I HATE mosquitoes. So considering we had 150 mm of rain today and the bugs were already bad, I figure the blood-suckers will be about as bad as they can get. Not to worry. I am armed with 3-types of repellent and can only hope we don't get bitten too much. I'm also hoping for a bear-free weekend, fingers-crossed.

For entertainment I have packed Suzanne McMinn's 'Cole Dempsey's Back in Town' and Diana Duncan's 'Midnight Hero', which I've had for ages but haven't been able to get to.

I have polished my TARA entry until it gleams and have to get it posted tomorrow. Because of that, DH is going off with Pam and all the kids first thing in the morning and I'm heading up with Pam's dh later. Explaining this to Pam's mother, she pipes up, "So, you're wife swapping?"

Now, exactly what can you say to that without offending someone? I was flabbergasted because I swear she was half-serious!! Thankfully we are also taking Pam's dh's mother along with us--and no, I'm not mother-in-law swapping either!

Countdown

Richard Whiteley has died. What a crying shame. This will mean nothing to anyone outside the UK. This man hosted Countdown, a word and numbers quiz that hooked every granny and student at 3.30-4 pm every weekday afternoon.

My granny loved Countdown. DH loved Countdown. DH had to be dragged away from Countdown during the birth of our first child.

What can I say--Richard Whiteley loved bad ties and bad jokes, and it made us love him.

Just goes to show, we never know what's going to happen tomorrow, so enjoy today :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Thunder Storms

Jill Shalvis had a nasty experience with an earthquake and a Girl Guide cookie yesterday and was asking what was everybody's scariest experience with Mother Nature.

And I'd forgotten, until I got to the last of the comments, about thunderstorms.

My mother has a phobia of thunder and lightening. When we were little she would drag all four of us out of bed in the middle of the night, put us in our wellies and hide with us in the cupboard under the stairs. I don't remember my dad being in there, so I don't know what the heck happened to him. Needless to say, myself and my siblings grew up with a total fascination (but zero fear) of storms--in fact they became exciting events in our lives.

I remember taking our holidays in a tent in North Wales. It ALWAYS rained and thundered when the tent had to go up. My dad and brother would be out in the driving rain and the girls would all be in the car, noses pressed up to the window and my mom would be hysterical in the front seat, shaking and crying. It isn't fun--she still has this phobia and still hides in the toilet with headphones on, listening to Freddy Mercury if she hears thunder.

I love storms. The closest I got to being struck by lightening was the first time I went to Toronto. Me and dh had got on a bus on our way home from the Science Museum. We got on the bus and a few seconds later we watched lightening hit the concrete with this terrific CRACK! BANG! Very dramatic. I hope that's as close as I ever get :)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Three Little Pigs

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I love these pigs. They bound off the page at you :)

Alternative Reality

I found a romance book with me in it. LOL. Better not tell my hubby that I'm having fun between somebody else's covers!!!

I'm a character in a book Toni Anderson

Had to share because it made me laugh. I keep telling everyone I don't need a pseudonym--Anderson has to be the most common name in the world. LOL

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Exhausted

OK--I'm plain old tuckered out--or knackered as we say in Britain :)

Hubby played poker last night. It has been a fun little evening get-together for about six guys from his work and they share a taxi, eat pizza, drink beer and each have a $20 stake at the start of the evening. Now this doesn't happen very often, and I feel like a very understanding wife because I'm glad he goes out and enjoys himself...can anyone else feel a BUT coming on?

I went to bed at 11.45 pm, foolishly having waited up for him. I had to search the house for intruders before I could sleep. Dog at my side, who just looked at me bewildered as I opened cupboard doors. I got to sleep pretty quickly after closing all the upstairs windows because I was chilly-oh and putting on socks and a long-sleeved jammy top for the same reason. And changing a diaper.

I heard scratching at 3 a.m. Hubby still wasn't home, but having had a dubious offering from the dog the night before, I went downstairs and let them out.

Back to bed. At 5 a.m. I heard the muffled sounds of a bad B&E. Hubby flopped into bed besides me, gave me a 100-proof whiff of kerosene breath and a vague kiss. "Hi, Honey." And asleep in 2.2 seconds. I could see the sun rising.

7 a.m. Dogs start whining. I leap out of bed, Hubby snoring, oblivious. Let them out before anything disgusting happened. Go back to bed. 7.30 a.m. Kids wake up.

Now, I generously got up and left Hubby to snooze till 10 a.m., then I told the kids to go get him up. Since then we had the Norwex party, the birthday party, the leaving do and now are finally home. I haven't written a word today--because rather than looking after the kids, hubby was recovering. Now if you all feel sorry for him that's fine. But this is MY blog and my moaning space so I just thought I'd share :)

He's giving me that slight frown--as if he can't quite work out why I'm pissed--and is slightly disappointed in me. I will survive.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Changing the World

I never get many comments on environmental issues and sometimes I wonder why? I don't believe people don't care--really how can people not care?

I think sometimes people feel they can't make a difference, so why bother? But they CAN make a difference, everyone can.

I think sometimes they think they aren't educated enough to argue/discuss the issues. Do you understand that the Earth is warming up because people don't treat energy like a precious resource? That is all you need to know. Treat energy like prime rib. Make the most out of every last bite :) Or like good gin :)

It can be depressing, but life is too short to get depressed. We can't always afford to make big changes, but investigate environmental options when you have to change something--from a lightbulb to a car. Even investigate the companies you buy from, even your grocery store. See what they are doing for the environment. It is your right and my childrens' right to do so.

Recycle, Re-use, Conserve. And question.

We can all do it. I'm far from perfect, but I try everyday to be better.

World Resources Institute is a great website and NOT depressing. These people are actually achieving things.

And for the Americans, here is a Great article that is positive and powerful.

I feel the need for Chocolate!!!!

Party Madness

We seem to be hitting an all-time record for parties this weekend. Two kid's birthday parties, a Norwex party (cleaning without chemicals is a BIG health and environmental issue), poker night for dh, departmental leaving do for someone from dh's work.

Now, I'm all for parties, but why don't people have them in the week during the daytime? Why always do it in the evenings or at weekends when I'm working? Nobody seems to care that I work whenever everybody else relaxes :( Please imagine me grinding my teeth.

I guess I get frustrated at the lack of time for writing--time I can hopefully make up when the weans get to school.

So end of moan. I will enjoy the parties. I will get my TARA entry polished for phase 2. We are blessed :)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Summer Color

Spent a lovely morning getting some Lavender, Columbine and Daisies from the garden centre--and some garlic bulbs too (not quite sure how the smell will mix as I put them with the lavender LOL!)

Anyway, with the help of my kids, which involved my daughter weeding and making holes for the garlic bulbs and my son, dragging my spade and dibbers etc off to the paddling pool for a wash...we planted all, but 3 plants, which need to go in my windowboxes at the front of the house. Problem is I can't reach the boxes without a huge stretch, and the mosquitoes are ******* terrible out the front. So I need dh to sacrifice his body and get them down for me. :) At the moment the boxes look pretty pathetic, dead or dying pansies, a couple of straggley petunias and no sign of the begonias I planted :(

So I bought 3 gorgeous creeping plants and hope they make it!!

The weather has been lovely here and the only thing that spoils it are the mossies--we have one of those mosquito magnets thingies, but we have another few weeks before we can say how effective it is. It catches loads, but then in Winnipeg there are freaking hundreds-of-millions of the suckers.

Ok, better go water my new plants and hope the neighbor doesn't ask us to watch their dog, because she is the reason most of my first set of plants didn't survive :(

Thursday, June 23, 2005

TARA

Ok--this is not a post about my sister-in-law!!

I have finaled in the Tampa Area Romance Authors contest. Yippeee and bubbly all around!!

Now, I don't know which of my manuscripts finaled because I entered two, but hopefully this will at least get me in front of an editor who might request to see the whole book. And it is a hell of a lot better than chalking up another contest failure. I haven't entered that many, but enough to feel the sting of rejection and scornful outrage when a judge plain old doesn't get your story.

So, my good days are coming along for a change, just in time for Reno!!!

Cardy Time

It has been so hot and sticky this last week I went out and bought some fans. Last night we put one in our daughter's room, angled across her bed for a cool breeze. I went up later to check on the rascals, barely able to drag my legs through the thick humidity, and there she was, wrapped in a cardigan 'because my arms got cold' LOL

Kids...gotta love em.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Killer Beetle

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This is the little blighter that has been giving me nightmares and I found out today, thanks to a fellow writer's lovely hubby, that it is in fact the deadly larvae of the LADYBUG variety. LOL!!!!

I'm an idiot.

Deadly to the aphids eating my trees!! Thank Goodness I didn't spray the wee mites!!
Long live Ladybugs!!! Even if the kids are ugly :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Edits and Goals

I finished my second draft of my wip tonight...5 days early after slogging it out even though I didn't want to. Yeah!!!!!

My aims are now as follows.
a) Re-read those scenes I edited tonight and make sure I didn't totally screw up as my brain is half dead from fatigue.
b) Go through with my 'find' button and eliminate passive voice. Readers hate this and I use it a lot in first and second drafts
c) Go through and check my hooks...beginning and ending of every scene and chapter, to make sure readers keep turning the pages.
d) Cut anything that slows the pace.
e) print out and go through a hardcopy with a fine tooth comb.

If I can do this before July hits, I'll be happy. Then I will work on that old pitching thang

If anyone wonders why I haven't put excerpts of my writing up, it isn't just because I'm shy. I am shy, but will get over that. There is an issue with copyright and some publishers consider you published if that work is on the net. So, hopefully one day you'll get to read my stuff, but after someone has bought it...or after so long I've just given up LOL!!!

Hope everyone is over-achieving in their own worlds :)

Trees

I'm really annoyed. Damned bugs have eaten my poor trees. Canker worms, and what I think are Elm beetles, have ravaged most of my eight big trees. I banded the elms, but think they were too close to the neighboring trees to be effective.

Grrrrrrggghhh........

I have a man coming to look and maybe spray later today but it is the end of that bug lifecycle, almost, until next year. The damage has been done. I have an arborist coming in a couple of days (I assume he is like a tree-surgeon? A tree GP?). He says I may need to feed them extra food and try to baby them more now, (as if an 80 degree temperature gradient wasn't hard enough to deal with!). Anyway. Had I known about the danged things I would have have the insecticide out faster than you can say 'dead bug', but no one told me and I didn't know. sniff.

I have a thing for trees and I'm really upset.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Nappy

Last night my son changed his own diaper and got back into bed with a clean one on??? I can't decide if he's talented or lazy!!!!!

Short

This isn't about me--believe it or not--but about my son. Yesterday he turned from golden child to skinhead bruiser. Funny how a number 2 on the clippers always looks longer on the dogs LOL.

At least now he looks like his real personality.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY Posted by Hello

Deadline

I've given myself a deadline for my rewrite/edits of the end of this month. Not much time when I also have the kids full-time. Then in July, I'm taking a couple of Kiss of Death (see links) workshops and learning to pitch.

Not baseball, but selling the concept of my novel.

I find it ironic that to be a successful writer I need to be a good sales-person. This is not my forte--I couldn't sell food to a starving man.

Many ironies exist in life, like in science...the better you get at research the more likely you are to be sucked into a teaching or administrative role. How does that work?

I'm pretty sure I'd have made a good dictator...if I ruled the world!!!!

On a separate note, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all dads, especially mine and Pop. Also to my hubby who is the best dad in the world!!!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Australia

Because hubby works on sharks we spent much of the last 4 years traveling back and forwards from Scotland to Oz. We stayed in Brisbane, Queensland, on the far Eastern edge of the continent.

Brisbane is about as different from Manitoba as Earth is to Venus. They both have rivers, dirt and people, and the similarity ends there. LOL.
Brisbane is one of the hilliest places on the earth. Undulating, steep inclines that put my home area (the Ironbridge Gorge) to shame. Winnipeg is FLAT. Brisbane has a sub tropical climate, Winnipeg is just extreme weather (-50 to +30). I remember being pregnant and pushing the stroller up and down these hills in Brisbane, a two year old reclined lazily in its folds. I remember leaving the house early and getting wherever I was going before 9 am when it got too damn hot to do anything. I remember sweating with my daughter besides me, lying beneath the ceiling fan (because hot and humid as it gets, few people in Australia have air conditioning).

I'm not a bug person, even though as a biologist I can appreciate their importance in the ecosystem--I hate the bloody things. Australia is not the place for bug-haters. We had a pet scorpion on the ceiling outside our second apartment (the second trip when son had arrived and was just a tiny baby in a hot world), they sprayed for roaches regularly, and the spiders...Lord God, the harmless orb-weavers filled me with terror and the poisonous Red-backs made me a paranoid visitor to unfamiliar toilets :)

But the very best thing about Australia are the Australians and one in particular. A very good friend of mine and a fantastic artist, Noel Miller. I am salivating at this man's work and long for the day I can buy a few of his gorgeous works. I have one...but it isn't enough. I have just discovered his website click here and thought I'd advertise for him.

And a quick note...had hubby not got this job in Manitoba, we'd probably be living in Brisbane again, and he'd be wrestling crocodiles with Steve Erwin. So thank GOD we are in Winnipeg...because I'd hate my hubby to be chewed up and spat out by a big hungry croc, not to mention my crazy son!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What am I?

I'm having one of those weird thoughts...
I'm English, husband Irish, children born in Scotland...but they will grow up Canadian. They will have little Canadian accents, wear Canadian flags on every item of apparel. But where will I want to live when I'm older, retired? My heart is in Britain, mainly in Scotland, but with patches of Shropshire and Wales holding vital pieces. I crave the sea and the mountain view, but don't have that here in the geographical center of North America.

When/if I finally reach an age where I can choose where I want to live...where will it be? Because I can't see the little Canadians wanting to go home to Blighty.

Maybe this is why I finished hanging the pictures in our house yesterday...after ten months, I finally realize we will be staying a while.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tools

What is it about men and tools???

Hubby went off the other day and bought a sledgehammer and a pick-axe. It wasn't just an ordinary pick-axe, it was a ditch-digging pick-axe. But then again, he is Irish. LOL.

The scary thing is he's off to Home Depot after work...wonder what he needs this time????

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

LOL

Laughing at my earlier rant.

Don't you find it ironic that mention erotica or inspirational romance, or Michael Jackson, and you stir up a storm of opinion, but mention the really important issues and nobody wants to talk about it??

My painting of St Andrews Bay

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Seems very big-headed of me to stick up a picture I painted, but it was better than having another environmental rant, which is what I really want to do.

Why can't the powers that be (industry and politicians) think about long term...rather than a quick buck? Industries could be made to use geothermal-heating/solar-power in buildings, and use recycled/environmentally sensitive materials. I have at least 2 friends/relatives high up in industry and I don't think I bug them enough (be warned ;-)).

Research could go into producing trees that consume huge amounts of CO2--there are huge tracks of land that could be reforested. Every hedgerow and field boundary in Europe would be a start, right?

And I BET there is some easy chemical reaction that consumes CO2. Why couldn't the governments build a facility that simply consumes CO2--charge the industries a levy on their taxes to cover the cost? Why don't we switch cars to be fueled by Liquid Gas? My parent's car is fueled by LPG because it is cheaper...how dumb are we not to follow suit?

Doomsters say there is only enough fuel to last another 50 years...did they include China in that calculation? The fastest growing economy in the world? When the fuel runs out what will happen? Air-travel will be a thing of the past, except air balloons (no way would you catch me up in one of those things). What of the military?

My hubby believes the companies are sitting on technology that they will switch to when the Earth is bled dry of fossil fuels...but what if they aren't? Is blind faith a smart thing when dealing with institutions so corrupt that they'll screw the environment, rather than find a better way? Do the people who make these decisions think their children will somehow be safe from climate change?

Oh Lord...look what happened. Good job I put up the picture instead huh???

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Nekid

So--how do you stop a two-and-a-half year old from taking of his nappy/diaper? I've been up twice tonight and he's been naked both times. First time he'd pee-peed everywhere, but the second time I was faster :0

No way is he interested in the potty, except perhaps as a hat.

Suggestions???

Wonderful hubbies

Well today dh took kids to the Children's Festival for 4 hours :)
So I wrote/edited/revised for 4 hours :) What a difference a solid block of time makes...especially a solid block of time that isn't at the end of a very long day. Yahooo!!

My dearest oldest friend is still adjusting to her time zone, having flown home last week. She's keeping herself occupied at 4 a.m. by reading my wip (work in progress) and making wonderful suggestions. So thanks!!!

I'm reading Psychic Awareness for Dummies-LOL. Well the latter is accurate!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Geothermal heating

While the sun is shining and the bugs are biting I thought I'd expound on the most energy efficient heating system in the world.

Geothermal systems can be used for both heating and cooling and work via a heat-exchange system of pipes buried in the ground (usually in your garden). It is expensive to install, but then your bills drop to like 30% of whatever you are paying now, and geothermal systems don't rely on burning fossil fuels, but utilize the temperature of the ground below our feet. You can also heat your water. So it is clean, cheap and environmentally friendly...so why isn't it compulsory in new homes?????

Anyone needing a new furnace should look into the long term benefits of geothermal systems. If I ever sell a book for a decent account, this is what I'd buy ;-)

More info
http://www.gov.mb.ca/est/energy/initiatives/geothermal.html

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Plan

This morning I was mommed out. I'd had enough. The kids were being demanding monsters and I was fed up pandering to every little whim. If the wee divels didn't want breakfast them stuff them.

So I turned on one of my all time favorite CD's and played it LOUD.

Jonny Lang--Lie to me, is a fabulous bluesy rock CD. I love it. And it got me to thinking...when do we lose ourselves in our children? When do we stop doing the things we love because our children don't?

I love listening to loud music, but I'm scared to play it in case one of them gets hurt and cries and I don't hear. Not to mention it gets voted out in favor of the TV!!

I don't shop with them (I mean fun shop, not grocery stuff). It isn't that I like to spend money (cos I havenae got any), but I love to browse...I mean please, I am a woman :)

I don't go to the gym...because I have no one to look after the kids (OK that excuse is wearing thin now we are settled, but for a long time it was true.

I don't just go out for a walk whenever I want to. I used to always be going for a stroll, dog walk, expedition. Now it is a palava to even mention the word walk to my kids--because shock, horror, that means the TV has to go off and they immediately go ballistic--even if the trip is to the park!!!

I don't paint...that's a kicker. I love to paint and draw, but now if I got the stuff out, the kids would want to help. I let them do craft, but have you ever tried to achieve anything when kids are doing craft? Anything except minimize damage to house, pets and person? So I don't get to paint because every evening is taken up writing and trying to get a story together.

You lose your freedom when you have kids, you lose a lot of what makes you YOU. Dads don't seem to have the same problem so much--although dh might argue--but they seem to have a life that isn't dedicated to what their children want every second of the day.

I think I'm getting it wrong. At the moment I think I'm doing a bad job on every single front of my life. Sheesh--you should see the bathroom :(

But I have a plan :)

I made the list (and I have to say blogging wasn't on it) and I'm about to start by tidying/cleaning the house. I'll be happy to do this ground floor today and upstairs tomorrow. I'll get to the three critiques I owe my critique partners (hangs head in shame) and I'll go to superstore and get the essentials we need from the grumpy assistants.

Tomorrow I will start afresh...upstairs and then writing (oh and Kim's whole book, but I'm treating that as a super crit to be done over time).

So I hope you're having a better day than me :)

Kingsbarn's beach 2004

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

On-line phones

OK--I'm in moan mode again. About phones through the computer. Now please don't think this is directed at you, wonderful parents-in-law, I have better respect for my quality of life than that!!

You know those telephones where you can phone other PC's for free, no matter where in the world you are???

I have tried microphones (from kiddies toy ones to professional mics)--no good. I bought a phone that plugs into the USB jack at the front of my computer--and get my music coming down the freaking handset and then nothing on the speakers. I've made the test calls, I've adjusted the properties on the sound and audio sections in the control panel. I've basically wasted far too much energy on this bloody stuff already!!!! The next step is to take every single piece of audio equipment, get a big sack, borrow a big sledgehammer and smash the lot until I find some modicum of comfort.

OK--deep breath.

I'm giving it one last go this weekend, when I can concentrate. If it doesn't work I'm off to the neighbors and getting that hammer.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Good Luck

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I'm touristed out. There is something incredibly tiring about having a break. Today we were at the oldest stone fort in Canada--Lower Fort Garry (the only remaining one I think). It didn't rain--hurrah!!!! The fort is a National Historic site and people dress up AND pretend to be characters from history. Everyone plays their part very well, if I may say so :)

This horseshoe is over the door of the Blacksmith's shop at the Fort. Iron was a powerful talisman against bad fairies and evil in the olden days--horseshoes might have been the adaption to make an old superstition more acceptable to the church...

My exhaustion is probably from my son, who is constantly on the go, at warp-speed in the opposite direction to where he's supposed to be going. What can I say?? It must be in the genes and my m-i-l insists his father was just as nuts. It might be divine justice except hubby doesn't have to deal with him 90% of the time--I do. And I was a great little girl (modest too), quiet and well-mannered, never demolished the place, never poured juice accidentally over the floor, never delivered a left-hook to people giving me a kiss, never threw cars at my door when I got a time-out.

However, thinking about the cars-thing, I do remember my brother throwing Tonker toys and always hitting my dad in the face. And--as my parents stood back to admire a newly installed window--my brother lobbing a brick through it.

Maybe the gene combination was too much for one little boy???

Friday, June 03, 2005

Soothing Bear

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OK so today I hot-footed it around the Museum of Man and Nature in Winnipeg with 4 kids and one old dear (I mean friend ;-)). It was excellent and I managed to catch some of the displays as I legged it around after my youngest, through crowds of schoolkids and oggling tourists.

The coolest bit is the boat they have inside. The Nonsuch, which is a funny name for a boat and I keep thinking 'nonsense nonsuch' and such-like (he he). Anyway they built the building around the boat (obviously having experienced that moving-house-nightmare where you have to remove a window and a wall to get the couch into a new place). You can go onboard the boat and you see the tiny beds where the officers slept. Tiny cramped, can't-swing-a-cat space, being tossed in the stormy Atlantic or rocked in the Arctic. Damp, cold, did I mention damp and cold?? And the thing is, these are the officers quarters...where do the poor sailors have to sleep? In the hold, that's where, in hammocks (to avoid the wet floors). Can you IMAGINE???

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Starkers

Ok--so this afternoon one of those terrible life moments happens to me. I'm stark naked in the pool changing-rooms and my kids are stark naked too, and the fire alarm goes off for real!!!!! Can anyone say COMMANDO????

Work Bear

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OK--I told you. I love these bears.

Today I wrote a scene from my villain's POV. He's a nasty character, but young and tormented, I feel kind of sorry for him. He has attempted rape, tried to kill my heroine, twice, and has more plans for her. He deals drugs and is generally a very unsavoury character. His mother beat him as a child, for telling stories (he's psychic) and it has twisted his sense of right and wrong.

I do believe moms/dads affect how their children turn out--please, please, don't let my kids turn into whackos because I screwed up!!!