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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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Entries in Life (49)

Saturday
Dec092006

Something called the Internet

Mystery plant


Above: This year, the shrubby vine-like plant growing along the front of the house burst forth with these seed pods. Does anyone know what type of plant this is?

Most of my Christmas shopping is done, unbelieveably. I've been leaving it later and later in recent years, but this time I smartened up and did most of it online. I purposely left a few gifts to buy so I can enjoy the process of doing it in person, rather than try to do it in a panic at the last minute.

SURVEY: What kind of holiday shopper are you? Do you buy gifts way in advance, or even throughout the year? A few weeks before? Last-minute?

Our tree is up and decorated with homemade ornaments from friends and family as well as ornaments from our various travels. Christmas music is playing in the background (one of our friend Parki's custom CDs), lights are twinkling on our tree. Writingstuff is going well. I went to see a chick flick with my sister last night; I have the coolest sister in the world. Jeff and I had breakfast in the neighbourhood this morning, then browsed some of the local shops. Allison and Jodi are coming over tomorrow for an Urban Tapestry practice.

I feel very lucky to have the husband, family and friends that I do.

From Roberta


Above: Christmas ornament from Roberta. Yay for penguins!

Links O' The Day



CBC News report from the early 1990's about something called "Internet". Pretty hilarious, considering that the Web's a household word nowadays. (Thanks to Lyanne for the link)

The world's best ukelele player. The guy in this amazing video is Jake Shimabukuro. (Thanks to Jodi for the link)

Dilbert and squirrels. Ha, I KNEW squirrels were taking over the world! (Thanks to Gary McGath for the link)

Speaking of squirrels, here's a wonderful homemade squirrel ornament that Michelle Dockrey made for me:

Squirrel ornament




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Thursday
Nov302006

Eichhörnchen

Happy birthday to my friend Luisa!

In yesterday's Blathering, I complained about workmen trodding on my head. I was highly amused by a drawing that Brooke posted in my message board along with the comment: "Renovators? Or the SQUIRREL LIBERATION FRONT?"


Drawing courtesy Brooke Lunderville.


Speaking of Evil Squirrels...

My friend Erica is on her way to Germany to help celebrate the nuptials of Katy Dröge and Steve Macdonald, and a discussion has arisen in her LJ about useful German phrases since she says she only knows how to say "Excuse me" in the language.

The Demon Squirrel In Our House


I volunteered helpful phrases from my Lonely Planet German phrasebook such as:

"Ich kann es nicht essen aus philosophischen Gründen."
-- I can't eat it for philosophical reasons.

"Ich habe meine eigene Spritze."
-- I have my own syringe.

"Kann ich meinem Kind hier die Brust geben?"
-- Can I breastfeed here?

"Bevor wir uns näher kennen lernen, muss ich etwas klarstellen. Ich bin Buchhalterin."
-- Before this goes any further, I must be upfront. I'm an accountant.

Loser Squirrel


Whereupon Christine helpfully posted the following:

"Ist das ein Eichhörnchen in deiner Tasche oder freust du dich nur, mich zu sehen?"
= Could you help me, I'm looking for the restrooms, please.

Which prompted PhilP to accuse Christine of evil intentions: "I don't recognize a couple of the words, but I'm pretty sure it really translates 'Is that a squirrel in your pants, or are you happy to see me?'"

When Urban Tapestry was invited over to Germany to perform at Filkcontinental last year, Christine tried convincing us that "Eichhörnchen" was a German swear word.

Ninja squirrel


We soon discovered that it actually meant "squirrel." By then, of course, Allison, Jodi and I had already invested considerable time in learning how to pronounce it properly; it remains one of the only German words Jodi will admit she knows. To us, the word sounds almost like a cute sneeze (especially when Jodi says it). Our German friend Katy Dröge has pointed out, however, that the English word "squirrel" is odd-sounding as well, twisting up one's tongue in its pronunciation. And y'know, she's right.

I was curious enough to do a bit of research on the origins of the word "squirrel." From A Brief History of the Squirrel: "The squirrel's common name can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, where Aristotle used the word skiouros, skia meaning shade, while oura means tail. Thus the meaning "he who sits in the shadow of his tail" was recorded. Centuries later the French created a noun esquirel to describe this animal. From this the present word squirrel was derived."

Anyway, here are some other useful phrases that Christine posted, fyi:

"Kann ich meinem Eichhörnchen hier die Brust geben?"

"Ich habe mein eigenes Eichhörnchen."


Above: Azuki Bean Kit Kat.


Link O' The Day



While perusing this Vox blog, I discovered a food blog called Slashfood. Holy cow. This is SO much my kind of blog. I mean geez, check out this 20-sided pecan pie!



And did you know that there are 150 varieties of Kit Kats made around the world?!?!?



I followed a link from that entry to this Wikipedia entry on Kit Kats, and discovered to my gustatorial greed that these flavours include dark chocolate, bitter, white chocolate, white with Hokkaido Milk (a limited edition in Japan), mint, apple, banana, blueberry, cherry, double berry, fruit parfait, grape, lemon, lemon cheesecake, white lemon and yogurt, honeycomb, luscious lime, mango, Hokkaido Yubari Melon, orange, blood orange, passion fruit, pineapple, summer pine, strawberries and cream, strawberry & yogurt, almond tofu, azuki, cafe latte with Hokkaido milk, cappuccino, caramac, waguri chestnut, Christmas pudding, white winter cinnamon, coffee, green tea, Halloween, hazelnut, white with maple syrup, milkshake, chocolate mocha, pumpkin...plus many, many more.


Above: Green Tea Kit Kat


Tragically, almost all of these were released as limited editions in various countries and are thus not readily available.

Ah, what I'd give for a time travel machine and a transporter.


Above: Yubari Melon Kit Kat.





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Friday
Nov242006

Writer's Digest article, Maya Bohnhoff interview

Writer's Digest article


Above: My webzine article in the Jan/Feb issue of Writer's Digest magazine. Speaking of writing, do check out my interview with Maya Bohnhoff for Inkygirl. Maya and her husband Jeff will be GoHs at Consonance this March. So hey, why not buy her newest book and get it autographed at the convention?

:-)

Had a great Urban Tapestry practice last night with Allison and Jodi. We went over some of our newer songs, including "Hey J.K.," "Sing With Me," "Come Down To GAFilk," and "Paper Boats" (a song by Eva Van Daele-Hunt of Summer and Fall). The pre-registration period for GAfilk ends November 30th, by the way, so don't forget to send in your membership before prices increase. You can find out more about the convention at the GAfilk Web site.

Renovations


Our spiral staircase is gone. The renovators took it out yesterday; friends of ours in Alberta will be using it in their house. Meanwhile, the floor has been closed off and we have two new rooms to use, yay! Drywalling continues today; Jeff put up plastic sheeting everywhere in hopes of containing the dust.

Finished I, Coriander by Sally Gardner last night. Very satisfying read. The story blends fairy tale fantasy and Commonwealth-era English history.

Interview with Maya Bohnhoff:


Maya talks about writing and co-writing, Mr. Twilight, and advice for those thinking about quitting their day jobs to become writers.


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Wednesday
Nov222006

Book news!

Well, I didn't end up making that Ginger-Mint Chicken Stir-fry after all.

This afternoon, my agent forwarded a long and detailed e-mail from a publisher where the associate editor liked my book manuscript (which started as a NaNoWriMo novel) enough to pass it up the chain to the head of the imprint, whose name evokes my fangirl sigh because of books he's edited that I've adored.

Well, apparently they both like my book enough that the associate editor is interested in working with me on revisions.

A Good E-mail Day


Again, it's not an acceptance, but it's a big step closer; Jeff and I went to Fukui to celebrate with sushi. :-)

I am very, VERY excited at the idea of working with this particular editor and this particular publisher. Not surprisingly, the project is going to the top of my priority list. My Blatherings may be somewhat sporadic over the next while, as might any non-urgent projects.

I SO want this.

Wish me luck.

Speaking of NaNoWriMo novels, Will Write For Chocolate has been updated. I've reformatted it for possible use on the NaNoWriMo site, so I'm posting this version below because the text is easier to read.

NaNoWriMo affliction


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Tuesday
Nov212006

artificial fire logs



Kristoph Klover, Seanan McGuire's sound engineer, says the sound levels on the new flute tracks I sent him were fine and that the tracks sound good. Yay! Looks like I'm finally getting the hang of this. Thanks to Jeff Bohnhoff for his continued coaching. :-)

Hey, looks like the my new GAfilk song is going to be included in the GAfilk songbook! Possibly even "Hey J.K." (new Harry Potter song) and "Sing With Me" as well. Many thanks to the fabulous Mary Crowell for all her hard work in putting together the songbook every year.

Finished The Wood Wife last night, on the couch in front of the fire. I quite enjoyed the book, and the atmosphere reminded me of some Charles de Lint books. We've been using our fireplace more often recently as the weather gets colder.

At the cottage, we use regular logs and chopped kindling. In our house, however, we're opting to use pre-fab fire logs. A recent houseguest mocked us for using these fire logs. :-) It's true they aren't the same as a real fire but y'know, Jeff and I are both finding some advantages to using these pre-fab logs in a small city house:



- One log burns much longer than a real log, hence we need far less storage space.

- Needs no kindling. Again, less storage, plus we don't have to chop kindling.

- They leave fewer ashes. Less to clean up, less trash.

- Less risk of fire spreading. No burning wood pieces shifting during the fire, no sparks or exploding embers.

- According to info I found online, artificial fire logs reduce pollutant emissions.

Some things to remember when using an artificial fire log:

- DON'T add wood or paper to the fire, and don't put an artificial log on a real fire.

- Don't move, poke or break up an artificial log while it's burning.

- Don't use artificial logs for open flame cooking or barbecues.

- Only use one log at a time.

What are artificial logs made of?

I was curious about this, so did some research. Apparently most logs are made of wax and some combustible material like sawdust, wood chips or coffee grounds.

Summary:

So while Jeff and I do prefer a real fire and always use regular kindling and logs when we're at the cottage, so far we've found that artificial logs work for us in our current house set-up. We may eventually switch to real wood, but we'd need to set up a wood storage area in the basement or backyard and also beef up our fireplace area as well as get proper fireplace tools.

And artificial logs or no, there's nothing like reading a book with a cup of tea in front of the fire when it's cold outside.

:-)

Below: Walter and me during Dave Clement's visit. Photo by Allison.





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