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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***Please note: You are browsing Debbie's personal blog. For her kidlit/YA writing & illustrating blog, see

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

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Welcome to Debbie's Blatherings, a personal blog where I've been posting since 1997. You can find my archives here: 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 -2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010+ (current archives)

If you're a kidlit/YA writer or illustrator, see Inkygirl. To find out more about me, my books and comics, various collab blogs, online portfolio and press, other miscellanea, browse the navigation links beneath the header banner. And thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

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Waiting for the Apple tablet announcement...


De La Mer: friendly neighbourhood fresh fish market

Fanny Bay & Beausoleil oysters

Jeff and I went for a walk after he came home from work today, and we decided to check out De La Mer, a new fresh fish shop on Bayview Avenue. I have nothing against the bigger mega-grocery complexes, but I love the intimacy and cozy friendliness of independently owned places like De La Mer.

De La Mer is run by Dave and Blake, two friendly guys who are pretty enthusiastic about their seafood. I asked Blake to come out of the back room where he was doing stuff with knives and seafood so I could take this photo with my iPhone:

Dave and Blake

Dave showed Jeff how to shuck an oyster. Happily, Jeff managed to shuck the oyster without also shucking off any of his fingers:

Dave teaches Jeff how to shuck an oyster

Dave gave us each a Beausoleil oyster....yum. We don't tend to eat much seafood but after visiting De La Mer, I'm thinking I may start experimenting some more.

Sign inside De La Mer Fresh Fish Market

We ended up buying some seasoned salmon fillets, and here's Jeff's creation for dinner:


Anyway, i's clear that both Dave and Blake know a ton about seafood (Blake is also a chef), so I'm also hoping to pick up some prep pointers. Anyway, if you're in the Bayview-Eglinton area and have a craving for something fishy, do check out De La Mer:

1543 Bayview Ave., Toronto, ON M4G 3B5
Phone: 647-350-3355

De La Mer Fresh Fish Market on Bayview Avenue

What I found in my Memory Boxes

Song For Jim sheet music

I used to keep a "memory box" every year, filling it with ticket stubs and other items that would help me remember some of the people, events and places that were important to me that year. This was fine in my teen years but as I got older, my boxes took up more and more space. Yesterday I decided to go through ALL of them and do a purge, keeping only a few things.

Convention badges #2

Sometimes I'd pick up something I have absolutely no idea why I kept it, like this creepy little doll:

Creepy little doll

It must have meant a great deal to me at some point in my childhood but now? Nothing. Where did those memories go? What else have I forgotten? I used to have a great memory but as I grew older, it almost seemed as if every time something new went in, my brain had to make room by throwing out something else. Sure wish I had control over what it threw out and what it kept!

Letter from my friend Andy

Something else that struck me as I did my Memory Box purge. Before e-mail, people spend a lot more time on correspondence. Some of the letters I received (and sent, I'm sure) were many pages long. HANDWRITTEN. How often do any of us do that now?

Ookla The Mok envelope

Found (and threw out) my old scientific calculator. It had seemed SO high-tech back when I received it as a gift. Now an iPhone app can duplicate its functions and more.

Ancient technology

Found the receipt for my very first Macintosh computer, purchased when I was a student at the University of Toronto:

Receipt for my very first Mac computer!

A couple copies of TV Guide's Farewell To Star Trek, which contained a simplified version of my "Neurotic Love Song" lyrics, which Urban Tapestry went on to perform in concert:

Farewell To Star Trek

Breakfast orders scribbled on an envelope the morning of my wedding, when I stayed at the Millcroft Inn with my bridesmaids:

Breakfast orders

My old roleplaying dice and a leather bag whose origin I forget:

Roleplaying dice

One of the hand-painted wedding program covers I made for Jim and Diane for their wedding:

Hand-painted wedding programs

As you may have guessed by now, going through those memory boxes was an emotional rollercoaster for me as I came across reminders from almost every significant event in my life, from early childhood through to the present. Cried lots. Jeff was there throughout for hugs when I needed them, carting away stuff I wanted to throw out, packing up anything I wanted to keep, coming over when I wanted to show him something or just to talk.

Piano student gift

You can see some of the items I've found so far in my Flickr set. I'll be adding more over time.

It feels good to be doing this. Cathartic, in a way, and giving me perspective. One of the high points: I was going through some of Jeff's old love letters and notes from nearly 25 years ago when he came over. He gave me a hug from behind and murmured in my ear: "I love you more -now-, you know."

I adore that man.


Above: photo by Jeff Kesner.

Little Nightmares gallery

Thanks to my friend Scott Murray for sending me this photo of the home gallery he's created of my Little Nightmare prints. :-)

Funding a breadmaker in Adéta, Togo

Several years back, I posted about using a $25 Kiva gift certificate I received from my cousin at Christmas to help a Kenyan farmer diversify into dairy farming.

The farmer ended up paying back most of the loan, so I've taken the money I got back, supplemented it, and reinvested it in another Kiva entrepreneur:

Mrs Victoria Alogno is a 62-year old woman who is married with five children. She lives with her family in Adéta. Victoria is a pioneer in bread making, she owns her own oven and she is much respected in the area. With this loan, she is going to build up a stock of wheat flour and other products used for making bread, in order to protect herself against significant market fluctuations and make a higher profit. Victoria's bread is of good quality and this is why, for several years, she has been the main provider of bread to small retailers in the village of Adéta and the surrounding area.

I confess I didn't even know where Adéta, Togo was located, so did some research. Apparently Togo (officially the Togolese Republic) is a country in West Africa. Approximately one half of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day. The official language is French, though many other languages are spoken in Togo.

Here's a blog of someone who worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Adéta, Togo until last year.

I know my contribution is very small in the grand scheme of things, but I like the idea of helping someone who is trying to improve their situation. It also makes me more aware of how good we have it here in North America, and focus on appreciating what I have rather than what I don't.

If you're interested in participating in Kiva's micro-loan program to help low-income entrepreneurs, visit