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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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cottage birthday

Here is a Guest Blathering from Alec Bruce....


My first vacation in Canada has proved challenging despite roaming the lands with my own personal tour guide (a.k.a. Helen -Melen- Waters). Challenge List as follows (warning: I like lists):

  • Survive daily slobberings by Bertie the dog at the Pimblett's bed and breakfast in Cabbagetown.

  • Adjust eye vision to bedroom with luminous orange shag carpet and kitch 70s multi-colour wallpaper in said above bed and breakfast.

  • Accompany Helen on a whirlwind social tour of her ex-boyfriends.

  • Experience my first camping trip in Canada.

  • Experience my first camping trip in Canada in a 12 hour thunderstorm with vintage equipment and leaking tents.

  • Attempt to view a movie at a Paramount cinema that does not include Dreamworks cartoons, inaccurate war dramas, American neo-partism or digitally enhanced breasts.

  • Horseriding Western style under the guidance of a French-Canadian who has eyes for my girlfriend (he was all over her!).

  • Suffer two weeks 'cold digital turkey' without access to mobile phone, text messages, email, or laptop (I want SMS).

  • Start three months über-diet (no sugar, no yeast, no dairy) in the company of a chocolaholic.

    Despite these difficult challenges, the 'no sugar or laptop' Canadian Vacation has proved immensely relaxing and enjoyable. Toronto is a seriously cool city with a chilled attitude and a great vibe. My three favourite places in Toronto:

  • High Park for trekking and cycling.

  • Cruising the hip fashion of Queen Street West.

  • Cabbagetown's weird streetlife.

    Our trip was impressively timed for gigs and tours. On a three-day window, Toronto:

  • Calexico at Lee's Palace

  • Jim White at Horseshoe

  • Howe Sleb at Horseshoe

    Recommend that everyone has a Calexico CD in their collection so that they can dream of open deserts and love on the Texan/Mexico border.

    As always when I travel, I attempt to fit with the local culture and collect new words. My three favourite new words:

  • Blogger: a person who publishes daily 'blabberings' on an online Web journal.

  • A Rack: a well-endowed women's set of breasts (by all accounts, Angelina Jolie has an impressive 'rack')

  • Nerd-Bird: flight between Austin and San Francisco

    (thanks to the Dudes at Open Cola for the first two items)

    Highlights of the vacation are as follows:

  • Horseriding in lush meadows of Shelbourne (check it out here).

  • Hanging at Jeff's cottage on Canoe Lake.

  • Laughing at disaster that was our 24-hr camping trip during the great flood.

    Writing this morning on the peace of Canoe Lake and celebrating Helen's "21st" birthday (yes again!). She played 'hunt the present' to find her gifts from Alec. It appears her three favourite pressies are:

  • 50s surfer girl short sleeve shirt

  • Short cut denim jacket

  • Rufus Wainwright CD

    Can anyone confirm who Rufus's musical mother is? (either one of the Indigio Girls or the McGarrigle sisters)

    Finally, the solitude of the cottage offers myself the calm and inspiration to rekindle my poetry writing. In the first five hours of arriving, I had written 9 haiku poems and 3 sonnets. Here is my favourite dedicated to Jeff and Debbie. Humble thanks to their hospitality and friendship:

    Zen Golfer No. 2

    The solstice warriors

    fire into evening darkness

    seeking resolution.

    - Alec

    Looks like the no-see-ums (the insidious little midge-creatures who sucked out most of my life's blood during the last cottage visit) are gone. Jeff says their lifespan and season is very short. I have no pity for them whatsoever.

    Last night as we had a fine Mediterranean pasta salad prepared by Alec. During dinner, we watched the mosquitoes cluster on the screen windows, staring in at us hungrily, probosci (sp?) trembling with anticipation. I delight in torturing them by breathing gently through the screen, my face an inch or so away, imagining their mental screams of insectile suffering.

    Jeff claims he doesn't react to mosquito bites anymore, and that this is probably due to all the time he's spent at the cottage over the years. He suggests it would be an interesting experiment to engage in the practice of lying on the dock, allowing bugs free access to one's blood, in hopes of eventually become immune to the bites.

    I think I'll leave this bold experiment to someone else.

    Today is Helen's birthday. Sadly, I left her birthday present at home. :-( I hope to make up for this act of gross negligence by baking her a cake. Considering that I haven't made a cake in quite a few years, this should be interesting, especially since the cottage oven exerts a great deal of creative freedom when it comes to how accurately the temperature dial reflects the actual temperature of its interior.

    Anyway, cross your fingers for me and the cake. Tho I'm sure Helen will eat it, just to be polite. :-)

    Today's Blatherpic:

    - Another bbq pic. Scott, me, my sister Ruth.

    Feel free to suggest a daily poll question.

    Today's Poll: (Courtesy Paul Stockton)

    Have you met Debbie in person?

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