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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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You can browse by date or entry title in my Blatherings archives here:

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Interfilk donation items

CD cover

Above: Cover of a CD that Urban Tapestry is donating to the Interfilk auction at GAfilk next weekend. For more details about the contents of the CD, see this Blatherings entry. Summary: we recorded 16 songs at one of our recent practice sessions, none of which have been included on our previous albums. Playlist: Sing With Me (I wrote this with some help from Dave Clement), Paper Boats (by Eva Daele-Hunt), Hey J.K.!, Livejournal Shanty (by Brooke Lunderville), I'm Gonna Make a Rocket Ship, Paul Stanley Kwinn, Into The West, Another Round (by Juliane Honisch), Bilbo's Last Song, Ode To Kathleen Sloan, The Question, Me And Babylon Five, All The Pretty Little Ponies, Good Riddance, Wo Ist Der Bahnhof (Our German Song), and Come Down To GAfilk (which I wrote with help from Matt Leger, David Weingart, Bill Roper, Scott Snyder, April Leake, Larissa March, Melissa Glasser, Margaret Middleton, Annie Walker, Bill Sutton, Rob Wynne, Gary McGath, Ellen McMicking D.I., Gary Ehrlich, Alan Thiesen, Emily Raftery, Phil Parker, Andrea Dale, Erica Neely, Marilisa Valtazanou, Mary Bertke, Sherman Dorn, Michelle Dockrey, Mary Crowell, Allison Durno and Jodi Krangle).

Back of CD

I was experimenting with my new home recording studio equipment; it's still a learning process for me, and I quickly discovered the disadvantages of only having two microphones for three singers and one guitar (and occasional flute and tin whistle). Don't expect pristine studio quality recordings here, but do expect better quality than our old "stick a microphone in the middle of the room" method. :-) There are intros to every song where we explain where the song came from, plus for the GAfilk package, we're including lyrics/chords to the songs.

Proceeds from the GAfilk package will be used to help raise funds to fly n'Early Music Consort to FilKONtario next year. Please note that this CD will NOT be available for commercial sale. After GAfilk, one copy of the CD will be donated to each of FilKONtario, the British filk con D'Zenove, and Filkcontinental in Germany to help raise money for Interfilk and overseas filk funds.

We will also be donating a cookbook to the regular Interfilk auction; I have mentioned it before in an earlier Blathering: it's a collection of Italian recipes by Kathleen Sloan who is actually not the Kathleen Sloan some of you know. I took the book to OVFF, where participants added graffiti consisting of interesting comments, useful advice, "corrections", and a wide range of artwork.

If you are attending GAfilk next weekend, you will have the opportunity to sign the book on Friday, after which it will be donated to the Interfilk auction. Kathleen signed it and several filkers added illustrations and cartoons, including Beckett Gladney, Seanan McGuire, Adam English, Taunya Gren (?I think she added pics? though I might be wrong), Gary Ehrlich, Allison Durno, Jodi Krangle, and Michelle Dockrey. If you added a cartoon and I didn't list your name, please let me know! Yes, even a feeble cartoon. :-)

Kathleen Sloan cookbook

Filkers who have signed so far include: Kathleen Sloan, Amy McNally, Alisa Garcia, Tom Smith, Paul Kwinn, Adam English, Rand Bellavia, Erin Nappe, Luis Garcia, Becca Leathers, Cat Faber, John Caspell, Graham Leathers, Jan di Masi, Jane Garthson, Sue Posteraro, Tom Jeffers, Gary Ehrlich, Sheryl Ehrlich, Deanna R., Brooke Lunderville, Michael Blair, Mary Crowell, Mary Bertke, Sue, and a number of other filkers whose signatures I couldn't decipher. :-)

Here are just a few excerpts...

From Seanan McGuire:

Excerpt from Cookbook graffiti

From Michelle Dockrey:

Excerpt from Cookbook graffiti

From Paul Kwinn:

Excerpt from Cookbook graffiti

Only a few more days until we leave for GAfilk!

Livejournal comments



Illustration Friday: Peace

Above: For Illustration Friday. This week's topic: "Peace." I'm still not comfortable with the oil brushes in Corel Painter, but one of my New Year's Resolutions this year is to experiment more with them; I tend to stick to pen and ink drawings, which are easier for me. Then again, I used to feel awkward using the pen and ink tools, so it proves that (hopefully) all I need is practice. My main challenge is patience, since I tend to prefer drawings that I can do at one sitting. With oils, it takes longer, and there's a lot of careful blending needed if you want to get anything semi-realistic. I'm not a great blender. :-)

But hey, maybe I can pretend that's my style! ("I'm striving for that organic, finger-painted look, you see...")


Above: our niece, Annie, designed and created the above creatures for Jeff and me as a Christmas gift.

Thanks for the good wishes for my Uncle John, everyone. My cousins told me he feels much better, and they had a good Christmas dinner. He is scheduled for a triple bypass operation early January.

My new slow cooker

Above: My new slow cooker (General Electric 3-1 Multi-Cooker - Model 169043, also is a steamer and deep fryer), a gift from my Dad and Mabuta. I've never had one before, and am excitedly combing through online resources for info on how to properly use one. I also bought two cookbooks with part of a gift certificate from my dad-in-law: Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann, and The Healthy Slow Cooker by Judith Finlayson.

I love the idea of just throwing things in a pot and forgetting about it until dinnertime. I tried my slow cooker for the first time last night when I made curry chicken for Jeff and his father, and it turned out pretty well.

If any of you have slow cooker tips for me, I welcome them!

Snow Girl

Livejournal comments


I only speak Greek

Naomi and me
Photo by my niece Annie, taken last night.

Above: my cousin Naomi and me. Last night, Naomi and her husband Rick saved the life of our Uncle John. I went with my sister and her family to a Christmas party hosted by Naomi and Rick. It was fun to catch up with everybody, including my Uncle John; he and I have been penpals for a number of years.

Partway through the party, Naomi noticed that something was wrong with Uncle John. It looked to me at first as if he was just laughing very hard, his head down on the table. Naomi (who is a nurse), however, suspected something more serious. Things happened very quickly after that.

They carefully moved Uncle John to the floor and elevated his feet. At some point, my uncle's heart stopped. Naomi, who was sitting by Uncle John's head, had made sure his airway was clear, and Rick (who is a firefighter) began CPR. Meanwhile, my Aunt Barbara (a nurse) had called 911 and was telling the operator about what was happening.

Uncle John's heart had started beating again by the time the paramedics arrived. They gave him oxygen and hooked him up to an IV. One of the first questions was to ask his family if language was going to be an issue; a logical question since they needed to make sure he understood English.

Even as he faded in and out of consciousness, my uncle retained his sense of humor. Overhearing their question and speaking through the oxygen mask, Uncle John said weakly, "I only speak Greek."


Shortly after, they put him on a stretcher and took him outside to the waiting ambulance. It seemed surreal, looking out the window and seeing those flashing red lights; how could this be happening?

And yet in some ways, we were very lucky. This happened at a party with two nurses and a fire fighter. Naomi and Rick worked as a team, doing CPR on Uncle John; they were efficient and calm throughout. Afterward, I couldn't help but wonder what I would have done. Go into hysterics or stand helplessly by, frozen with panic? I hope I never have to find out.

I took one CPR course, but it was many years ago. Now I'm thinking it's time to take a refresher. I also did some searching online for CPR information. Here's one useful link I found;

Learn CPR: Includes info about CPR for adults, children and infants, with video demonstrations. There is also information about how to handle choking events.

Anyway, I would very much appreciate it if you would please think healing vibes at my Uncle John.

Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone.


Livejournal comments


Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays!


marmots, monsters and obnoxious cellphone users

The Deadline

Novel update: Over the past few weeks, I have had several exchanges with the editor I mentioned a while back, in which she has been giving me detailed feedback and asking a ton of questions. These questions focus on fleshing out backstory and character motivations, as well as pushing me to defend details of the plot ("So why did the antagonist to do X instead of Y?" "But if Z is true, then doesn't this contradict what happened earlier in the story?" etc.).

These questions and comments have forced me to think about aspects of my novel in much more depth than I would have otherwise, and several times I have decided to make a change. What usually goes through my head: "AUGH! She's RIGHT! This part SO doesn't work! I SUCK!" then "Hey but wait, I have a solution" to "OH WOW this change is BRILLIANT, I can't BELIEVE I was going to do it the other way, this is SOOOOO MUCH BETTER!!!"

The process has also been hugely educational for me in terms of how I'm going to approach novel projects in the future.

Anyway, I've received the go-ahead to start revisions! Wish me luck.

Above: marmot photo taken by my friend Bruce Macintosh while he was hiking on the eastern side of the Sierra mountains. I admitted I had never seen a marmot in real life, so Bruce kindly offered to send me a photograph. Below: I cropped out a close-up of the marmot. So cute! Bruce wisely points out: "Marmots are much cuter and more trustworthy than squirrels."

Books I've recently read:

Recently read

I especially enjoyed The Book Without Words: A Fable Of Medieval Magic, an Avi book. I'm usually not a huge fan of talking animals in novels, but I got a kick out of the acerbic raven character in this story and his interaction with the main character, Sibylle.

Links 'O The Day

Thanks to my friend Ray for these links!

Put a cork in it: Are you irritated by obnoxious cell phone users in public places? The Society for Handheld Hushing offers these cards for handing out.

Daily Monster: "A growing collection of curious creatures and the stories behind them." VERY cool.

Shizuoka Broadcasting: An amusing commercial for Shizuoka Broadcasting.

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