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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Entries in jwr (8)

Thursday
May122016

Dancing with my man in Chattanooga, TN

Neither Jeff nor I consider ourselves public dancers. We've never been into the nightclub dancing scene. At friends' weddings, we'd rather sit and chat with people rather than go out on the dance floor. It depends on the crowd, though.

I dance in my office in private sometimes. I know I'm not a good dancer; I'm awkward and chaotic BUT I do find it liberating to sometimes just crank up my favourite privateofficedance tunes and do my flailchaoticdance. I also love to draw people dancing; it's one reason I was so tickled to illustrate the RUBY ROSE picture books written by Rob Sanders. The first one, RUBY ROSE, OFF TO SCHOOL SHE GOES, comes out from HarperCollins Children's on June 21st, 2016!

Anyway, Jeff and I had a wonderful time this past weekend in Chattanooga, TN visiting friends, and during an evening stroll on the way to Clumpies Ice Cream, Jeff stopped me and pointed out the dance steps on the sidewalk and grabbed my hand.

"Come on," he said. "Let's try it!" I was floored. Jeff, WANTING to dance? In PUBLIC?

And a little voice inside my head yelled Go for it, girl!

So there we were, me and my man, dancing the waltz on Frazier Avenue that night beneath the stars in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And I remember thinking: Life could not be finer than this.

Saturday
Aug242013

Anniversary :-)

Friday
Aug262011

California Anniversary Trip, Days 1-3 in San Francisco: Hotel Kabuki, Japan Town, Mission District

Our room at Hotel Kabuki

Jeff and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a trip to California. We'd been planning the trip for years now, discussing possibilities. Our 10th anniversary was spent in Tofino, B.C. and then Japan; we were supposed to fly home on September 11th (yes, THE September 11th) and ended up staying in Tokyo for nearly a week longer than planned.

Hotel Kabuki room tub

Our first stay this time: Hotel Kabuki in Japan Town (1625 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115). We stayed in one of the Japanese-style suites, with a futon and a gloriously deep tub, paper screens and zen sand garden. Though parts of the hotel are a wee bit dated, the location is ideal: steps away from Japan Town, which is also known as Nihonmachi - six square city blocks in San Francisco.

Trying out some new art supplies at Hotel Kabuki

Japan Town is packed with Japanese restaurants, indoor shopping malls & other shops, including one of the few U.S. branches of the large Kinokuniya bookstore chain. Yes, there were many tourists, but we were outnumbered by Japanese-speaking locals by far. Eating Japanese food, hearing Japanese, and surrounded by Japanese shops, there were odd moments when I felt transported to downtown Tokyo.

Part of omakase at Kiss Restaurant in San Francisco

Our favorite meal of the trip was at Kiss restaurant (1700 Laguna Street, (415) 474-2866), a tiny place with only a few tables. Run by a Japanese couple, Kiss reminded us of Hashimoto's back in Ontario, but in a more casual atmosphere. Easier on the pocketbook, too. We ordered the omakase, or chef's choice, and were delighted by the exquisitely presented six-course meal. Part of the enjoyment: watching the chef cook everything himself.

Chef at Kiss Restaurant, San Francisco

We met friends of a mutual friend at Universal Cafe in the Mission District. Though our anniversary was the catalyst, part of the reason we chose San Francisco as a visit point was because one of our fantasies is to try living in other places someday, for as long as month or two. Anyway, it was great to meet Pari, Keith and Jason, and they gave us some great info about living in San Francisco. After brunch, we walked around the Mission District. So many great little shops and cafes!

Hanging out in the Mission District, San Francisco

Another highlight: the Asian Art Museum. This was the first time I'd visited an art museum since I began taking my illustration more seriously, and I was surprised at how much this altered and enhanced my experience. I was especially in that headspace because of the SCBWI Summer Conference a couple of weeks earlier, especially the fabulous Illustrator Intensive.

Statue in the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

Pretty much everything I saw tied into some aspect of illustration or visual creativity: questions about how the artist had achieved certain effects or moods, the process and execution, color and use of lights/darks, line texture, character and emotion. I'd love to come back here and do some sketching sometime.

Hotel Kabuki lobby entrance

When perusing the area via Google Maps just before we left, I noticed that Dick Blick Art Materials was in San Francisco, and asked Jeff if we could drop by. I've seen Dick Blick Art mentioned many times in various art forums online and was curious. What I found: though the art store was fun to browse, the immediate neighborhood (Market and 6th) around it wasn't.

Low points during our walk: having to sidestep men urinating on the sidewalk, one not even bothering to hide himself while he did it. Ugh. Also a lot of people hanging out on the sidewalk, not bothering to move aside for passersby; we had to step onto the road to walk around them each time.

Later on, Jeff and I discovered that there have been at least five shootings, mostly gang-related, along or near the Market and Sixth street corridors. Yikes. Don't think I'll be going back to that Dick Blick's.

Cool graffiti in the Mission District, San Francisco

While at Dick Blick's, Jeff bought me a brush pen I had been coveting (Copic Multliner SP BS), a mini sketch book, and a portable watercolor set of paints. What a sweetie! I had been looking for the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, a pen that David Small had recommended in his Illustrator Intensive, but the store didn't have any. A fellow working at the store recommended the Copic pen instead; it's not a true brush pen (it's more of a marker, without individual bristles) but it was cheaper than the Pentel plus I was happy with the thick/thin variety of line it could produce.

But enough artnerdspeak. :-)

Some other highlights... Intriguing graffiti: Green tea & pastry at Tan Tan's in Japan Town: Pastry & green tea at Tan Tan's in Japan Town (San Francisco) Seeing all the things you could buy for $1.50:

Finding out more about the history of Japan Town. Here, for example, is where some of the Japan Town residents assembled before they were shipped off to internment camps during World War II (now a bilingual school for Japanese-American children:

Next post: Petaluma & TWiT party, Gaige House in Glen Ellyn, and more.

Pier 9 in San Francisco

 Next: Painted Ladies, The Shoe Garden & more San Francisco sights 

Friday
May272011

My new office book shelf

New shelf that Jeff made for me!

Yay! Check out the custom bookshelf that Jeff made for me today. He built to fit EXACTLY beside my office door, just inside.

Books on the new shelf that Jeff made for me!

Monday
Feb142011

Happy Valentine's to my sweetie

jeffdeb-honeymoonbw.jpg

Above: photo of Jeff and me years ago (check out my glasses, whoa!), taken by Gord Gibson.

Oh my, I am still sooooooooooooooo in love with my sweetie. To other couples out there: do whatever you can to get through the rough spots because the payoff in the end is well worth it. Or at least it was for us.

I think back to the heart-fluttering flowers-and-butterflies angst of early love in our relationship and can't help but smile. There was a time when I missed it.

But now? Now I know it was just the appetizer.

Happy Valentine's Day, my love.