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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Today's picture was taken during our trip to Port Elgin with friends. I am sure the people in the store thought I was very strange when I posed for this picture, but how could I resist?

Had fun at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Every year, my mom-in-law is kind enough to take Jeff and me to Shawfest...this year we saw The Shop At Sly Corner. A bit slow at first, but I quite enjoyed the last half. Great acting! Earlier in the day, we went to Niagara Falls and did the Maid of the Mist thing, crowding onto a ferry boat with about a hundred people clad in the thin plastic rain ponchos (these are passed out to everyone ahead of time). The boat chugs out to the Falls, where we are buffeted about by the churning water and soaked by heavy mist (more like rain, actually, but they probably wouldn't attract as many tourists with a boat ride called "Maid of the Rain"). Great fun! And the water cool-down was especially welcome that day, which was sweltering. My dad takes friends and relatives to the Falls whenever they come visit from Japan...he estimates he's been on the Maid of the Mist about 46 times. Went to the Fudge Factory on Queen Street and bought four different kinds, yum.

I was pleased to see that my cycling buddy, Dave Goulden, posted on the blatherchat from a cyber cafe in Halifax! Very cool! I am ashamed to admit I did not go cycling this week. I did aerobics instead...I'm starting to attend the" advanced" classes, which are way fun but pretty gruelling - routine is basically a warm-up, cardio step aerobics, hand weight exercises, ab exercises (abdominal curls, push-ups, etc.), then cool-down. I don't understand how those instructors can keep talking in a normal voice whilst doing abdominal exercises that have the rest of us groaning in agony. I always come out of class feeling great but pretty wobbly. :-) If I'm feeling especially virtuous (or if I want to wait for the lines for the showers to die down a bit), I'll go to the weight room to work out some more. You may think all this would mean I'm incredibly fit right now, but that is sadly not true. When Jeff and I went cycling at the cottage a couple weeks ago, I still couldn't make it up some of the hills and had to walk my bike up while Jeff waited for me. :-(

Had a productive practice with Allison and Jodi last night. Ran through our Contata concert set, which is tentatively:

    Battle On! (Xena song)

    Homecoming (based on Ray Bradbury's short story, "The Rocket Man")

    Another Story (relatively new song by Allison and me)

    Secret Rose (we're hoping to do this one with Mark Osier)

    A new song as yet untitled

    Monday (new song by Allison, almost always makes me teary-eyed...summarizes a great deal of how I feel about filk and friendships and having to say good-bye to people at the end of conventions)

    The Truth Is Out There (X-Files song)

I'm sort of nervous about Homecoming, in which I fingerpick guitar throughout; I still feel relatively new at this "playing guitar in concert" thing. Flute is much easier! :-)
I also still find it odd that I'm actually starting to sing with the group. I remember swearing never ever to sing in public in the early UT days. Allison and Jodi, though, have been so encouraging and supportive that I find myself trying things that I never would have conceived of trying before I hooked up with them. They'll never get me to sing lead, though (Debbie says stubbornly). :-)

Going out with my friend Cathy tonight; we're seeing the movie Mulan. Rand's coming to visit tomorrow. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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