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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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ant farms


Allison wrote about Lloyd Landa's memorial service, for those interested.

Waiting For Frodo is being updated pretty regularly, so I'm not longer going to mention each time. If you'd like to be informed about when a new strip is posted, you can sign up here. Thanks to all those who have been sending in suggestions! I've added your names to the credits list, and am gradually integrating your ideas into the storyline.

Our cottage visit is not quite as relaxing as last time, but it's still wonderful up here. Our 5-year-old niece Brittany came to visit over the was her first time staying overnight just with Jeff and me. Jeff fixed up a cozy bed for her in the bay window nook of our sleeping cabin, and she slept there for two nights before her mom (Larkin, Jeff's sister) came to bring her back home.

Activities included swimming, saunas, feeding the chipmunks, drawing, making chocolate cake, crafts, hiking, motorboat rides, storytelling, songs (she wanted me to sing "The Hockey Monkey Song" over and over again), bonfires and toasted marshmallows. My favourite part of the weekend was one morning when Brittany snuggled between Jeff and me in bed, her hair still sleep-tousled, cuddling up to us in her pajamas. Mmmmmmm. I wanted to doze off again, but of course Brittany was too excited to want to go back to sleep. There were so many exciting things to do at the cottage, after all!

She had a bad cold, which she generously shared with me before departing with her mother on Monday. I slept most of Monday and Tuesday. How is it that kid colds are so effective on adults?

Jeff and I gave Brittany an ant farm for her birthday, much to her mother's horror, I'm sure. I love being an aunt. Anyway, they brought the ant farm up to the cottage (still in its original packaging) for us to put together. Jeff and I ran around catching ants. We caught them from different places until we remembered our 6-year-old niece Sara telling us that it was important to catch them all from the same colony, or they would end up fighting each other.

The ant farm actually seemed to turn out ok, at least for the first day. The next morning, however, most of the ants seemed to be hiding in the cheerfully-coloured little plastic houses in the "ant town". Jeff thought that the cheerfully-coloured little houses were actually full of ant corpses, but he did not share this theory with Brittany.

I think Larkin had actually planned to leave to leave the ant farm at the cottage, but Brittany insisted on bringing the whole thing home with them. We told Larkin to make sure the plastic tubes were on firmly so the ants wouldn't escape during the drive home.

I am thinking of getting ant farms for my other nieces and nephews.

Wood Day today! Our order of two cords of wood came in today, so we spent the morning unloading the wood and carrying it up to the piles up the hill. I jumped in the lake afterward to cool off and wash away the grime and bits of wood. The lake is still a bit chilly, but very refreshing. My arms and legs still felt wobbly/achy from the flu, so I didn't stay in too long.

Hey, I've decided to try to learn some Japanese before our trip to Japan in the fall! Yikes, it's been a while. Our current plan is to combine our 10th wedding anniversary trip to the Canadian west coast with a trip to Japan immediately after. I'm pretty excited about this, mainly because I've never been to Japan before. That 3-week combined trip will be a fitting end to our sabbatical, I think.

Getting online time is a bit tricky at the cottage when other people are around, so apologies if my e-mail is erratic. There's only one phone line for several cabins, and if anyone picks up the phone while I'm online, it kills my connection (and can badly mess up what I'm doing online, depending on what I'm working on).

Partly as a result of this, I'm start to devote more time to my own creative writing rather than online pursuits right now. No, this is not work!! I'm just playing around with some prep for my next novel. Ideas keep popping into my head these days re: my book, and I feel compelled to write them down. I've been playing around with Filemaker Pro, developing some simple databases for character sheets, background info, plot outlines.

Warm, muggy weather lately. The breeze from the lake helps keep things from getting too steamy, and we can always jump in the water. Lots of "no-see-ums" in the early evening, and they're still small enough to get through the screens. Not sure what their real name is...midges? Sandflies? I've had about two dozen bites since we arrived six days ago.

I'm the only one who wears insect repellent around here, and the bugs still prefer me over Jeff and his Dad. I think it must be their hairy legs (Jeff's and his dad's, not the bugs). I should take a razor to Jeff's legs one of these nights and see if it makes a difference, don't you think?

Today's Blatherpics:

- Jeff and Brittany at the cottage.

- Me helping unload wood.

- Yesterday morning.

Feel free to suggest a daily poll question.

Today's Poll:

Did you ever own an ant farm?

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