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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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sara sleeps over

Sara stayed overnight on Friday for the first time; she brought Dolly and Bunny with her. She was a tad nervous at first. When some loud fireworks from the Air Canada Centre scared Dolly and Bunny, we watched some of Walt Disney's Snow White before going to bed again.

In the morning, Sara showed me how to make Slugs, which are basically rolled-up pieces of bread with peanut butter and jam, with two toothpicks stuck in to look like eye stalks. Sara said that you're supposed to use olives for eyes, but we didn't have any so we just stuck with the toothpicks. They were pretty yummy! Sara was kind enough to provide the recipe for me:

On Saturday morning, we went to the One-of-a-Kind Craft Show. Jeff and I try to go every year. I'm not keen on the crowds, but some of the crafts for sale and on display are amazing. Even if you're not planning on buying anything, it's worth strolling the aisles just to look. We all did a bit of Christmas shopping (yay! so now I've officially started). I get a Christmas ornament for Ruth every year, and Sara helped me pick one out...a little cloth pig in an angel's outwit, with gold wire wings and a wand.

Whenever I see one of these craft shows, I get all nostalgic for my crafting days out in the country. I used to make wreaths from scratch, for example, going on walks in the forest for materials to make the base, decorating the wreath with flowers and herbs I had grown and dried myself. I used to make handmade paper, greeting cards, small Christmas ornaments out of coloured felt and beads and lace. I don't much of that anymore, sadly. Though I suppose it's not so sad, really, because it means I have other hobby interests that I've chosen to pursue instead, like playing the harp and making comics (which reminds me; I must update Waiting for Frodo and My Life In A Nutshell soon!).

When I was much younger, I realized that I was torn between a number of careers. I loved music, art, writing AND computers. I envy those who are born pretty much knowing what they want to do later in life, whose professional aspirations are unwavering beacons in the future, a solid guide to what courses they should be taking, what schools to pick. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but I figured that would be more like a hobby, that no one could ever making a living just writing (and realistically, that's usually the case). I remember my high school art teacher being mightily disappointed (almost ticked off) when I opted for music instead of art for my "artsy" part of the curriculum.

But I digress.


After the Craft Show, Jeff, Sara and I went to the Silver City on Eglinton to see Monsters Inc. with the rest of Sara's family. Sara and Annie were super-hyped...they both knew all the characters and plot weeks before seeing the actual movie.

The pre-show had only trailers, no tv commercials, which was a blessing. Still, the girls covered their ears during the loud "WOW HERE'S ANOTHER COOL AND EXCITING GRAPHIC TO SHOW YOU WHAT A COOL AND EXCITING COMPANY WE ARE!" logo clips. Jeff noticed that some other kids in the theatre were covering their ears, too. Anyway, Sara loved the movie, Annie found it a bit too scary in bits.

Jeff and I met Parki at a nearby coffeeshop after the movie, and we drove to Orangeville to visit with Jeff's mom. Her newly renovated house looks fantastic (and as usual got Jeff and I all nostalgic about country living), and I drooled over her kitchen. Yummy dinner: barbecued salmon with vegetables over a potato pancake (I'm sure I'm not using the proper culinary terminology, sorry), with raspberry pie and ice cream for dessert. I was suffering badly from cat allergies; I'll have to make sure I bring some pills when we come visit for Christmas.

'Twas a busy 24 hours, so Jeff and I plan to have a pretty quiet Sunday. I'm still going to the LOTR gathering at Starbuck's at 2 pm, though. :-)

I'm still experimenting with LiveJournal. I'm finding that the user interface is not as clean or consistent as the one for Greymatter, and that LiveJournal is not as easily configurable as Greymatter. It's fine for those who are happy with the existing templates, but I'd like to be able to do more customizing. The database storage aspect still appeals to me, however, so I've already started converting some of archives while I fiddle about with my templates and send wish lists to Bryan and Reid.

If you'd like to see what I've been doing so far, feel free to take a look at Please note that I'm making this URL available only because I figure some of you might be curious to see the tweaking process. Most importantly, note that this journal is NOT official yet (please don't link to it or complain about broken links/graphics)'s still very much a work in progress. I'm still tweaking it on a daily basis myself and will be turning table borders on and off, messing with the format, and so on. The archives aren't near complete, and not all the links and graphics work.

And before posting a "I don't want you switching to a new format" message (I remember these from last time :-)), PLEASE do pause for some reflection. This is my personal journal. A public journal, yes, but non-commercial. My past experiences with online public/personal ventures have made it clear to me that there is no way I can possibly keep everyone happy, and that it's not necessary a good thing to TRY to keep everyone happy. After the new journal's official, feel free to complain and nitpick, but please do remember that I retain the right to ignore you. :-)

Today's pics:

- Jeff and Sara heading across Yonge Street to the movie theatre.

- Sara's Slug recipe.

- Sara at the piano. She was showing me some of the Christmas carols she had learned, and then started improvising some stuff. Jeff was astounded (she can already play far better than he can :-)), and I was beaming with pride.

- Sara and Annie just before seeing Monsters Inc. They were even more excited because it turned out that the cover of the most current theatre magazine featured Liv Tyler as Arwen in Lord of the Rings.

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