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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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blackberry tea

News/Updates/Links (9:29 am EST)

"Friendship entry clarification" and "New Blatherchat board news" posted below.

Waiting For Frodo updated.

A Village Voice article criticizes "Lord of the Rings" and its "ur-geeks", causing much heated response from LOTR fans.

(Canoe) Chapters-Indigo deal approved.

My Blatherings schedule for the next few weeks is going to be somewhat irregular since I will be out of town quite a bit.

New Blatherchat message board: I am going to be switching to a new Blatherchat message board format. The old Blatherchat has become active enough that I'm finding it more and more of a hassle to administer (since everything has to be done manually). This new Blatherchat environment will eliminate that hassle, plus offer more flexibility and options to users. I'm sure some will complain that it's not the same as the old Blatherchat, but until someone is willing to volunteer to help me maintain it, I'd rather stick with this new forum. :-) I'll leave both boards up for now so that people have a chance to experiment with the new message board. Please note that you DON'T have to register to post messages.

Clarification about what I said about friendship: I'd like to clarify something in yesterday's entry. I think I gave the impression that I prefer to have only a few very close friends, and forget about the others. Perhaps the confusion came from the fact that we all have different definitions of "close". I value all my friendships. The hard reality, however, is that no one person can spend equal time with all his/her friends without sacrificing the potential of a closer bond in some cases. Even if you spent all your waking hours with your friends, there would still be others you would be ignoring. Andy wrote:

"If I can modify the advice you're passing to young Debbie, I would say don't be too quick to dismiss the close acquaintances. Speaking from personal experience, you can never tell when your best pal is going to drop you like a hot potato, and you never know which of those acquaintances will turn out to be a true friend in a time of need." -Andy

My advice to my younger self was not to dump all your friends except for a chosen few. It was more to focus on individual friendships rather than group friendships. The latter will naturally follow from the former, I'd think. My advice was also came from my past experience of trying to be "friends with everybody". I've come to realize that this is impossible, and also a dangerous attitude in terms of one's own independence and self-esteem. Self-esteem should not be based on what everyone else thinks of you. Apologies if anyone else misinterpreted what I said.

For those who are interested in the "Letter to My Young Self" On Display project, you should read You Always Smile Too Widely, a collab entry by Jenny.

Looks like I won't be going to Contraption after all. Flight bookings at this point are going to cost too much, and I'd rather save my frequent flyer points so I can go to OVFF. Ah well. :-(

Jeff and I hung out with our nieces yesterday. While Jeff picked Sara up at school, my Dad (who was babysitting earlier in the day) and I took Annie to a nearby playground. She is fearless, that one, clambering over jungle gyms and begging Grandpa to push her higher, higher on the swings.

On the way home, we all buy popsicles and sit in the sunlight outside the convenience store to eat them. Annie chooses grape. When the popsicles are gone and we have wiped the sticky remnants off with equally sticky paper napkins, we walk the rest of the way back to the house. A walk that would have taken the average adult about five minutes takes us nearly half an hour, but my Dad and I don't mind. There are flowers to sniff, trees to climb, leaves to examine. Whenever we pass under a branch overhanging the sidewalk, Annie tries to jump up and try to touch it. A few moments later, she's squatting to examine an ant making its way across the sidwalk. An ordinary world is so much more exciting with a 4-year-old by your side. :-)

Jeff and Sara have already arrived by the time we get back home. Both Annie and Sara are fascinated by the bandages on my arms. I had a blood test earlier that day, and the nurses were having problems finding an acceptable took them four tries and three nurses. Not a particularly fun experience, but of course I downplay it for the girls, not wanting to freak them out.

ANNIE: "What happened to your arms?"

ME (with false cheeriness): "Oh, I had a little blood test."

SARA (leaning closer, fascinated): "Auntie Debbie, did you know there's BLOOD on your bandage?"

etc. etc.

After dinner, Jeff and my Dad go home. Ruth and Kaarel take Sara to her play (she is Helena in a class production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", the abridged version). Only parents are allowed to attend. Annie sits on the couch, forlorn about being left behind, until I suggest a tea party. Annie's very keen on hosting parties. We have blackberry tea (very weak lukewarm blackberry tea, with sugar to sweeten), chocolate chip cookies made from paper, a cake with vanilla icing and red hearts I make from felt scraps. Annie even makes icecream by tearing up paper into small scraps and putting them into a bowl. It is quite the festive occasion. I read "Cinder Edna" to Annie and her stuffed companions at her polite request.

Afterwards, Annie takes me upstairs, where we lie on her parents' bed and just talk. In one of my Blatherings I had mentioned that Annie told me she was in love with a boy at school. Annie now confesses to me that she and Andrew are now married. In fact, Andrew has also married FOUR other girls in his class. (!)

Hmmm...I'm DEFINITELY going to have a little talk with young Andrew.

Annie and I talk about school, her friends, what she likes, what she doesn't like, life in general. From time to time, she leans over and pats my cheek gently, or lies across my stomach, or snuggles against me. She smells of blackberry tea and the outdoors, and I love her like crazy.

Today's Blatherpics:

- Me and Annie. Photo by my Dad.

- My Dad and Annie during our popsicle break.

- Tea party. Yes, I am wearing a paper crown on my head.

- Sara asked me to pose for a portrait. Note the dimples she drew in my cheeks, and the bandages on my arms. :-)

Feel free to suggest a daily poll question.

Today's Poll:

Are you a parent (or parent-to-be)?

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