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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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My friends Reid and Luisa both have online journals. It is HIGHLY amusing reading them both, one after another. If you have a chance, do check out their versions of "what happened this morning". Parents with kids will especially appreciate these two perspectives side by side. :-) :-)

I accidentally spilled dehydrated milk into Jeff's hiking boots early this morning. I've cleaned them out, so hopefully he won't notice.

re: leftovers poll question a few days back. A leftovers anecdote of my own I forgot to mention...several years ago, some friends and I had a weekend-long party at my father's place while he was in Japan (with his permission, of course). Weeks after he came back, he noticed an unusual odor coming from one of his infrequently-used kitchen cupboards. Opening it, he found a plate of dessicated turkey dinner. =:-O

re: suet/raccoon fiasco (see yesterday's entry). To give the knife an extra twist...I stepped out of our sleeping cabin this morning to find a chickadee pecking at the pitiful crumb of suet left in the feeder. Figures.

Rained yesterday, so Jeff and I had another "laze about the cottage" day. To assuage my self-imposed guilt (I'm still not used to being on sabbatical), I chopped some kindling and restocked some firewood before settling completely into slug mode. Parki is coming to visit for the weekend (arriving tonight); hope he's not too shocked at how completely inactive Jeff and I can be. :-)

I'm not sure if I've mentioned the Outhouse Daily News before, a cottage publication I started years ago. Click here to see what the very first issue looked like. Circulation: 1. Jeff's the president of the Canoe Lake Leasholders' Association this year, and asked if I would write a brief history of ODN for the upcoming leaseholders' newsletter. For your interest, I am also posting it here:


By Debbie Ridpath Ohi

For as I long as can remember, I've been an editor of some sort. As a child, I produced Family Weekly, a one-page publication which I posted on the wall of our bathroom at home. In addition to the most recent exciting events of our household (such as the fact that my mother was making chocolate cake for dessert that night, or that our dog had thrown up on the living room rug), the publication also contained hand-drawn cartoons, short stories, and poetry. I recruited my young sister and brother as editorial assistants. When they had proven themselves appropriately committed, allowed them to have columns of their own.

My editorial aspirations continued over the years through high school newspapers, a publication for my university friends, newsletter for management trainees at TD, even a monthly news update when Jeff and I got engaged (title: "The Nuptial News"). The largest circulation I've had was nearly 50,000 people, with my electronic newsletter for writers, Inklings.

And, of course, there was Outhouse Daily News (henceforward referred to as "ODN").

I began ODN in the summer of '89, when Jeff and I built our cabin. I started ODN partly because I wanted to chronicle our stay at the Park that summer, and also to provide more interesting reading material in the Ridpath outhouse than the knot-tying poster which JBR (John Ridpath) had posted. The knot-tying poster is -still- in the outhouse, but ODN isn't. People started taking issues down to the main cabin to peruse at leisure, and that's where the ODN collection remains to this day.

The Underwood typewriter was quirky, tending to skip when the weather got too humid. Each issue was generally one half of a 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper. Starting the second year, we photocopied a template to use at the cottage, with the title at the top, and a tagline at the bottom of each page: "We know a good story from a hole in the ground."

Although ODN was only supposed to be a one-summer project, the reaction from its readership was so positive (plus it was more fun to produce than I expected) that I decided to continue it. Everyone contributes, with Guest Editors creating issues when I'm not at the cottage. Issues include hand-drawn illustrations and cartoons, poetry, memorable quotes, in addition to the regular cottage news.

The Underwood typewriter died several years ago (as did Len's Flea Market), but the handwritten ODN continues strong. Format remains the same: one page, succinct news, occasional illustration. It's fascinating to read through the eleven years' worth of issues. Much laughter, cause for reflection, and a few tears.

A few excerpts from ODN:

"Last night we had roast beef for dinner cooked by Chef Harry. It turned out wonderfully even though a beetle fell in the gravy." (July 18/89)

"Jeff and Debbie arrived at around 3 pm to find Newf, Calvin and Rick planning an elaborate gourmet feast for the cottagers' party (a Newfoundland "scoff"). And what a meal! Polish mushrooms, melted cheese on salami rounds, toutin (fried bread), moose and caribou shishkebab, bass, trout, cod au gratin, salmon stuffed with crab, cod tongue (Newf makes the best cod tongue in Newfoundland, or so he says), moose stirfry, scallop kebob with bacon, baked beans, blueberry pie and icecream, wine, Screech. Newf presented a 'salt and pepper hat' to JBR. Other people included Holly & Roy with sons Graham & Peter, Missy & David Sharpe and Bucky and Matthew, Misty, Don Lloyd. Rick played guitar while he and Newf sang. Newf danced, too. There is enough food left to last until Thanksgiving." (Aug.29/97)

"JBR'S WISDOM FOR THE DAY: While it may be true that familiarity breeds contempt, without familiarity nothing would would be bred." (July 25/89)

"Outhouse Daily News Mourns Passing Of Its Co-Editor: We will sincerely miss the contributions of Chrissy Cat. No longer will her paws delicately select random letters from the typewriter keyboard to brighten the news of the day. a memorial service will be held for Chrissy tomorrow morning, 9:30 a.m., at the dock. All are welcome. The mice will be conducting a celebration memorial service by the dock, 10 pm. BYOC (Bring Your Own Cheese)." (May 18/90)


JEFF: Deb, how about we spend some time here next summer, say

about Aug.7-Sept.15?

DEBBIE (after a pause): We can't.

JEFF: Why not?

DEBBIE: Because we're getting married.

JEFF (after a pause): Oh yeah." (Aug.8/90)

"Debbie Tucker discovered a dead mouse tangled in her bedsheets

this morning. She did not scream or faint, much to her credit.

Casey denies planting the mouse corpse as a test of his beloved's

stamina in the wilderness." (Oct. 7/95)

"Jeff and Debbie are delighted to be the first to hear some of JBR's new stories from his trip. They are also looking forward to seeing how these stories evolve during repeated tellings in the coming years." (Jul.1/95)

Today's Blatherpics:

- Jeff and I share a romantic moment at the cottage.

- The current pile of ODN back issues.

- First issue. Click here for a bigger picture.

- Wedding announcement issue, by Harry.

Today's Poll:

Have you read an entire book at one sitting (picture books don't count for this particular poll, sorry :-)) during the past month?

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