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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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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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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

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Bubble Wrap Calendar

I've been enjoying popping my bubble wrap calendar daily, a Christmas gift from Jeff. Brilliant idea, and oh so satisfying! Thanks to Ray for giving Jeff the idea.

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Filk Hall Of Fame deadline: Jan. 15th

Filk Hall Of Fame plaque Hey all. I've been asked to remind everyone that the deadline for the Filk Hall Of Fame nominations is coming up: January 15th. Though the FHOF's inductee list includes performers, I think that this is especially a great chance to nominate someone you know who tends to work behind-the-scenes and deserves more recognition for his or her contribution to the filk community. For more info about the Filk Hall Of Fame, past and present inductees as well as how to nominate online or by snailmail, see the Filk Hall Of Fame website.

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LOTR Movie Marathon Food

All images on this page cropped from photos by Walter. Click any image to see the original. Iain also took some pics but I don't think he's uploaded yet. Above: My "Eye Of Sauron" cookies for the Lord Of The Rings movie marathon yesterday when we watched all three extended versions of the LOTR movies in one day. The orange pupils are so messy because I ended up having to smear on the orange icing with a knife. After watching the trilogy again, I realize i should have made the eyeball orange-flamey and the PUPIL white -- I'll know better for next time. :-) Thanks for all your suggestions about LOTR food. Sadly, there aren't many (any) ethnic food stores in our neighbourhood, so I had to abandon the idea of using anything exotic. For lembas bread, I used this recipe and wrapped the bread in collard leaves, the closest thing I could find to mallorn leaves on short notice. The bread looked great but tasted pretty bland; I'll probably try another recipe next time, or use honey-butter instead of just butter, as suggested by Erin (@Samwisegirl12). I was happy with how Gimli's Seedcake turned out (sorry, I forgot to take a photo). Easy recipe, and the resulting bread-like cake makes good snacking. I might use a variation of this recipe for the lembas bread next time. When I got tired of decorating Eye of Sauron sugar cookies, I turned the cookies into Mallorn Leaf sugar cookies and Crazy Eye Of Sauron sugar cookies instead. Also made Farmer Giles Of Ham-burger Soup and Rosie's Carrot Cake. I decorated the top of the cake with an attempt at the JRR Tolkien symbol: As for the watching all three movies in one day, Jeff and I both found that the time didn't seem all that long. I still bawled at the same places, loved the characters, wished for more. Yes, the trilogy has its share of flaws but I still LOVED it. :-) Other attendees: Walter, Reid, Iain, Craig, Scott, Ruth and Kaarel. You can see some photos in Walter's Flickr set. :-) Speaking of LOTR, today is J.R.R. Tolkien's birthday!

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