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

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I'm Bored Bonus Page

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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Emergency brain surgery, family and priorities

As a few of you already know, my dad-in-law had emergency brain surgery recently. To our immense relief, the operation went very well. Because the pre-surgery condition was severely affecting my dad-in-law's short-term memory, nurses had posted some reminder signs on the wall. Just hours after the operation, he is MUCH improved --yay!-- so we could remove most of the reminders (see photo above). I decided to add one reminder, though....guess which one? :-) (apart from the get well card, that is)

The next round of drawings for my current book project (NAKED! written by Michael Ian Black) were due around the same time. I had to write to my editor and art director at Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers to tell them I might be late; I was stressed about having to do so, because I know how missing deadlines potentially affects the process and publication dates. Both my editor and art director, however, were SO supportive. My editor wrote back:

I am so very sorry to hear about your Father-in-Law.  PLEASE take all the time that you need. DO NOT worry about us or the book.  Your family is so much more important than any deadline. 

I ended up being only a day late, but the email meant a great deal to me. I was already a huge fan of Simon & Schuster BFYR (please see this post) but now I am even more so.


Yay, I'm in my University of Toronto college alumni magazine!

I admit it -- I'm tickled to be mentioned in the Spring 2013 issue of the UC College Alumni Magazine (I was in UC college when I attended the University of Toronto). Back then, I was studying Computer Science before graduating with a B.Sc. and working as a programmer/analyst.

Fast forward to the present day, when I am happier than I ever been, making a living from writing and illustrating for young people.

In case you're not on their mailing list, here's what the piece says:

"Debbie Ohi illustrated a children's book, I'M BORED (Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2012) by author Michael Ian Black, that was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Children's Book Of 2012. Her new projects include illustrations for NAKED!, by the same author, scheduled for publication by Simon & Schuster in summer 2014."

Wish I could send a photo of this page and send it back to my younger self.



The next book I'm illustrating for Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers: NAKED!

How cool is this? And apparently Michael wrote the story with me in mind as the illustrator. I've already started work on the sketches and am having soooo much fun.

Entertainment Weekly posted an article about the news. Wow, I've never been mentioned in an Exclusive before. My editor gave me a heads-up that it would appear in EW but I wasn't sure exactly when -- my friend Cathy Rutland was the first one to let me know it was online!

I also posted the news in my own blog.

NAKED! is going to be published in the Summer of 2014.


New Year Family Ritual: Making Mochi


We made mochi last night at my sister's place. Basic summary of the mechanics, or at least how we do it in our family:

1. Pour a box of rice flour into a bowl.

2. Gradually add a trickle of warm water at the same time as stirring the mixture. Helps to have an extra person to assist.

3. Continue to add the warm water until the texture of the dough resembles that of bread dough.

4. Make balls of dough and spread on wax paper. Flatten into small patties.

5. Dump the patties into a pot of boiling water, gently prodding with a wooden spoon to keep the dough from sticking to the bottom of the pot. We put in about 7 or 8 at a time.

6. When the patties start to rise, carefully lift them out with a slotted spoon and put in a heavy bowl.

7. Mix the patties into a heavier dough. In Japan, this is traditionally done by pounding with a heavy wooden mallet. My grandfather used to do something similar, I think, but then switched to using an electric drill with a long bit.


We still have the wooden cutting board that my grandfather modified for this purpose, with a hole drilled in its center for the bit to fit through. The blade is one intended to mix paint, but Grandpa found it perfect for mochi-mixing instead.


I remember how my brother, sister and I had our own roles as children, clustering around Grandpa as he did the drilling/mixing, holding onto the wooden board as it shuddered and swayed, to keep it in place.

Every year around the beginning of the year, my family still tries to get together for our annual mochi-making ritual. My father has taken Grandpa's place as the one who oversees the operation, helping and instructing when needed, reminding us of the details we've forgotten. 


For me, the ritual is wrapped in layers of memory and voices from the past that are no longer with us. The voices are joyous, full of laughter. And although I do love eating mochi, I also know that much of my enjoyment is inextricably bound with these childhood memories.

Jeff compares eating mochi with eating wallpaper paste. :-D  Still, he helps us make the mochi and even eats a bit of it from time to time, perhaps to test whether it's still as unappealing as he remembers but also because he knows it's about much more than just mochi.

Here's my favourite way of eating freshly-made mochi, as learned from my grandparents: still warm, sprinkled with sugar and soy sauce:



You can read an older Blathering I wrote in 2007 about mochi-making, with other photos.


Free I'M BORED cards, envelopes & gift tags to download, print & use

I've uploaded a wide range of free gift card templates (snarky and non-snarky options) to download, print and use year-round.