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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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Comic updated yesterday

Allison reports that her Filk Forte column has been updated. "The new topic is literary filksongs. Has any book ever inspired you to write a song about it? Has any literary filksong inspired you to read the source book? What are your favorite literary filksongs? (and non-filksongs)."

Jeff and I have settled into a day-to-day routine at the cottage. Yesterday was a typical example:

6:30 am

Despite all attempts to sleep in, I wake up. Carefully get out of bed and get dressed, trying to be as quiet as possible so I don't wake up Jeff. Accidentally drop book or knock over insect repellent and wake Jeff. He grumbles a bit but then goes back to sleep.

6:35 am

Go down to boathouse. Start fire to warm up cabin. Boil water for tea. Have breakfast...sometimes eggs and peameal bacon, usually instant oatmeal and some fruit. Eat breakfast in front of the fire while reading some LOTR.

7:00 am

Clean up. Restock firewood in cabin if necessary. Work on Blatherings.

7:30 am

Get online and upload Blatherings. Pick up e-mail. Check fave sites.

8:00 am

Work on Writer's Digest article.

8:02 am

Make some more tea, put another log on the fire, fuss about in kitchen some more. Discover that a mouse has managed to infiltrate the mouse-proof storage cupboard. Clean up mess.

8:23 am

Work some more on Writer's Digest article.

8:27 am

Notice how absolutely gorgeous it is outside. Make another cup of tea and go outside to sit on the dock in the sunshine with copy of LOTR. End up dozing a bit in the deck chair.

9:45 am

Work some more on Writer's Digest article, this time putting on a CD, thinking that some background music will help concentration. Make the mistake of selecting Ookla The Mok's new album, "Smell No Evil". End up listening to the CD more than writing.

10:11 am

Get on online and send Rand some e-mail commenting on one of the tracks. Am distracted by Randall The Lone Seagull floating out in the lake near our dock, looking wistful. Go outside and throw some crusts of bread at Randall. Tell Randall that he needs to go find himself a lady seagull and make some babies. Jeff, who has just woken up and has come up behind me on the deck, asks me why I'm talking to a seagull. I tell him I'm doing some research for a children's book. He goes inside.

10:48 am

Am distracted by how absolutely gorgeous it is outside. Sit on the dock and watch the waves. Sound of water lapping against dock is very soothing.

11:21 am

Decide to go back to sleeping cabin and take a nap.

1:15 pm

Wake up from nap. Go down to boathouse, where Jeff is on the couch reading a book. Have lunch together, plan hiking route for that afternoon.

2:00 pm

Go for hike.

5:34 pm

Get back from hike. Have sauna, wash up.

5:55 pm

Take nap.

7:15 pm

Wake from nap. Jeff cooks dinner, I clean up.

9:20 pm

Add more logs to fire. Jeff reads on couch and does some e-mail. I do some practising on guitar, play on computer offline (either work on comic strip or play with Flash), resolve to do lots of work on article next day.

11:30 pm


Today, however, it is cloudy and drizzly outside, so it won't be as hard to stay indoors. I am determined to do major work on my article today, no excuses. (!) Report on my progress tomorrow.

Jeff and I decided to hike to Drummer Lake yesterday. Unlike previous hikes, this one was completely off the beaten path and involved bushwhacking. A LOT of bushwhacking. Most of our route went through what used to be a logging area, which meant that most of the larger trees were gone, resulting in a thick undergrowth of young trees and plants flourishing in the open space. Hiking through this stuff was tedious; it reminded me of that scene in Walt Disney's animated Snow White movie, when the heroine was running through the forest, with branches catching at her clothes and hair at every step.

Plus it was very buggy. Swarms of blackflies followed us everywhere...even though they weren't biting yet, they were darned annoying. The combination of the insects and tedious bushwhacking were daunting, and we decided to turn back after two hours.

Jeff figured out where to go by means of a topological map and a compass. I was pretty impressed, not having been particularly good during orienteering lessons back in grade school. It would be SO easy to get lost in the woods, where everything pretty much looks the same. On a cloudy day (with no sun to use as a direction reference), this would be even more of a problem if you didn't have other navigational aids.

And then of course I had to wonder what I would do if Jeff suddenly keeled over from a heart attack, or broke his ankle, or was eaten by a bear, etc. How would I find my way back to find help? So I asked, and Jeff gave me a quickie orienteering lesson with map and compass. Basically, I'd head for the lake where our cottage is situated. Once I find the shore, then I could just follow it until I found help. Finding the lake would be important, else I'd risk wandering off into the park interior, and that would definitely Not Be A Good Thing.

I've rambled on long enough today, and it's time to put another log on the fire and get back to working on my article. After a short nap, maybe...?

Today's Blatherpics:

  • Map of our hiking route yesterday. (prepared by Jeff)

  • Example of the kind of underbrush we had to push our way through for most of the hike.


    On average, do you spend more than 15 hours a week online?
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