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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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« writing again | Main | itching »

father's day visit

BELATED HAPPY 40TH BIRTHDAY to Scott Snyder! (his birthday was on Sunday). You can reach Scott at

Many thanks to those of you who e-mailed me or posted about additional anti-itch and insect repellent treatments. These included:

- Calamine lotion. Or hanging out with someone who is more attractive to mosquitoes than you are. (Alison George)

- Liquid soap. "When mosquitoes bite, they insert an acid into your skin. Take a bit of liquid soap and dot it on the bite. The alkali in the soap neutralizes the acid in the bite and should help ease the itching. Don't wash it off immediately." (Pam Upper)

- Take a hot sauna and then jump in the coldest part of the lake. (Dave Clement)

- Eating garlic is supposed to have some insect-repellent properties, as well as including brewer's yeast in one's diet. (D'Glenn)

- Anti-itching: Caldryl, Gold Bond powder or cream. Insect repellent: anything that is 100% DEET. (Jim Poltrone)

- Hot water. (Jeff Kesner)

- Epson salt and water paste. (Gail Kesner)

- Benadryl. (Sharman Dorn)

- Extremely hot water. (Jeff Bohnhoff)

Jeff and I went back briefly to Toronto for Father's Day; we took my Dad out to the Mandarin for dinner, hung out at my sister's afterwards. Great Chinese buffet...much better than the usual limp noodles and soggy chicken ball fare so common in buffets. What kind of buffet person are you? Do you:

  • Fill up mainly on your favourite ingredient?

  • Try to get as many samplings of as many dishes on your plate as possible?

  • Pick a few choice dishes that you like and then lust after the ones everyone else chose?

  • Skip the salad, go light on the main course, load up on yummy desserts?

    We had brunch with Parki and his sister Kate. Parki's place looks great...he's been gradually renovating and painting over the past few months. We browsed antique shops after brunch, and I found a wonderful manual Smith Corona typewriter. I've been looking for one to replace the Underwood (now deceased) at the cottage. It's been a long search...I wanted a typewriter that was functional yet had character. This one definitely has acres of the latter, with slightly crooked letters and finicky spacing. I love it. I'll need to find a new ribbon for it, though; I'm hoping there are some still available.

    I have a thing for old typewriters, despite their relative clunkiness and impracticality compared to word processing programs and computer keyboards. There's something inherently appealing about the clackity-clack of the keys, the rhythmic sound of the carriage return, a sheet of white paper gradually filling up with ideas and stories, right there before your eyes. My first typewriter was an Underwood, and then I graduated to an electric typewriter (can't recall what brand) that I won in a Canada-wide high school writing contest. I remember having to use those crumbly slips of eraser paper, laboriously pausing each time I made a typo. That's something I -don't- miss. My favourite key on my computer keyboard is the "delete" key, which I use as often as possible.

    Also went out for dinner at Golden Thai with Helen and Alec, who are visiting from the UK. Checked out the PalmTopShop and drooled over the new iBook. Jeff and I are thinking about trading in our current laptops (I want an iBook; he wants a G4).

    I'm starting to experiment with, which I found out about from Jodi. A few people have asked me about Waiting For Frodo t-shirts, so I've created a Waiting For Frodo t-shirt design, for those interested. I posted the design yesterday and have sold two t-shirts. Pretty cool service. I think I'd like to create a Dandelion Report shirt as well (all profits will go to Interfilk) and perhaps some others.

    I'll be out of touch later this week; Jeff's mom is taking us to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a few days. To Andrea - good luck with your concert at Contraption this weekend! Sorry I couldn't be there. :-(

    Today's Blatherpic:

    - Me snoozing with Annie and Sara. Annie is clutching Flatmouse, Jeff's childhood toy.

    - Drawing of Shakespeare by Sara, for a school project. Not bad for a 6-year-old, eh? I'm also impressed that they're studying Shakespeare in first grade at all!

    Feel free to suggest a daily poll question.

    Today's Poll:

    Are you happier now than you were ten years ago?

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