Friday, December 30, 2005

Is it Friday already?

The week went so quickly!

I spent time yesterday afternoon working on my new story. Haven't started the FD method yet. Instead I sat down with a notebook and pen and just did some freeform writing about it. Aside from her name and basic family stuff, I didn't know much about my heroine, so we spent some time together and I learned quite a lot. Turns out she's a proto-feminist. Yeah, yeah, I know - but it really is true! Feminism was just getting started in the 1790s - see Olympe de Gouges' Declaration of the Rights of Women, 1791 and Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women, and my heroine, for very good reasons, embraces the movement.

So now I'm doing more research on women and their role during the Revolution. And, of course, this is going to bring her into conflict with the hero because, like most men of that period, he doesn't really hold with the new-fangled ideas - especially when the heroine tells him she has no intention of marrying him!

I'm so excited about this story now. The one problem remains figuring out WHY my heroine decides to help the hero with his problem - other than the fact she's a decent woman who can't turn her back on the half-dead man on her doorstep. I'm sure she'll give me her reasons soon. I loved sitting there with the notebook yesterday, taking down whatever came into my head - that kinda free-form writing is sooooooo cool.

The last few days have been busy - we're almost out of the office now. Sean's going there after his CBC shift this morning to get another load or two. The cats have been quite amused by all the things coming into the house, though what Chloe liked best yesterday was the brown wrapping paper that came off the parcel from my brother-in-law. She sits on it, paws the paper and moves around to hear it crinkle *g*. The gift itself was a photo montage, featuring our niece and her kittens. Very cute.

Has anyone else been reading the Crapometer over at Miss Snark's Blog? It's very informative and, considering some of the entries, Miss Snark has shown a good deal of mercy in her comments. Needless to say, I was nowhere near brave enough to send her something. No matter how hard I work at it, I find it almost impossible to take what's a reasonably good ms and write a coherent synopsis without making it sound trite and overwrought.

Well, my wrists are telling me they've had about enough of this typing crap for right now, so I guess I'd best finish off!

Happy New Year!!!!!


Currently Reading: Heloise and Abelard: A New Biography
Also Currently Reading: a cp's ms
Link of the Day: Annette's post about Passion and Writing
Currently coming from my speakers: Christmas in America [#] - Melissa Etheridge - Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Post-Christmas round-up

Happy Day after Boxing Day!! Right, most of you don't celebrate Boxing Day - here's some info on it from a variety of sources:

~ Boxing Day according to the Canadian government

~ Boxing Day in the UK

~ History of Boxing Day

~ Boxing Day

Ok - now that's done, how is everyone? Overstuffed? I know I am. Still, I'm trying to convince myself that I should eat a bowl of healthy cereal for breakfast, rather than another helping of trifle (mmmmmm - trifle) *g*. We had a lovely but quiety holiday - well, except for the sound of Cleo chasing her new toy - a red felt mouse with a bell *vbg*.

Sean found me, among other things, a wonderful book:

Heloise and Abelard: A New Biography by James Burge - it's really interesting and while not overly academic, it is referenced properly and has a good bibliography and excerpts from what are believed to be letters b/w H &A lost for centuries.

The cats enjoyed Christmas, behaved around my mum and were just generally cute. On Friday we thought Cleo was going into full heat, but she seems to have calmed down again, so we have our fingers crossed that she hangs on till next Monday - we have an appointment to have her spayed then.

In writing news, I'm getting things organized to start my FDin30D work on my new ms!!! I'm sooooo excited about this. I think I might print out the forms and do them by hand first - it might help my CTS. We'll see. There are millions of ideas bouncing around in my head. I can't start till next week as we're cleaning out the office this week and moving everything into our house. It's going to be hard saying goodbye to the office - we were there the day my dad and his associates moved in there in the early 90s.

And now, I'd best eat my brekkie, read some Crapometer over on Miss Snark, then do a bit of housework.


Currently Reading: Heloise and Abelard: A New Biography
Link of the Day: Heloise: Letter to Abelard at the Internet Medieval Sourcebook

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Or Chanukka, or Kwanzaa - whichever holiday you celebrate at this time of year, I wish you all the best and hope your time with family and friends brings you peace and joy :-)


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

10 Reading Secrets

Melissa tagged me, so here goes:

1) I used to read the back of the cereal box on the kitchen table while eating breakfast.

2) I'll read almost anything - but I prefer romance, historical fiction and mysteries.

3) I arrange my romance collection by time period/author.

4) One of the best parts of a vacation for me is how much reading I get to do - I usually get through 2 or 3 books, depending on how long we're gone.

5) I read Gone with the Wind in Grade 7 and Pride and Prejudice in Grade 8 - without a teacher asking me to *g*.

6) I love non-fiction history books (qu'elle surprise) - especially the kind I can dip into and pull out cool history facts.

7) I've started to share my fave books with my older niece. Last year I sent her the first in the All of a Kind Family series and when we were visiting, noticed it was well-read. It's so much fun introducing her to books I loved as a child.

8) When I finish reading a really good book, I find I can't start anything else for a day or two. I think it's still cause I'm in the world of the really good book (this happened the other day when I finished The Other Side of the Story).

9) I have tons of bookmarks and love to buy them - for myself and for others.

10) My dh and I often read at the table - even bought book weights to hold our books open while we eat.

I now tag Kelly, Margaret and Tess H.


Currently Reading: The Christmas Visit Anthology
Link of the Day: History on the Net

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

We'll just call her...destructo kitty!!!!

In the past few days, young Cleo has 1) broken our sundial, by knocking it from its table onto the hardwood floor - thus breaking off the arrow's point and gouging the floor and 2) broken our combination soap dispenser and sponge holder in the kitchen. A total of somewhere around $100.00 damage. Good thing she's so freakin' cute!!!!

We heard a crash last night, but when I went down to investigate, I couldn't find anything. Hmmmm.

Not much else new here - trying to be good and stay away from the computer.

Hope everyone's last minute holiday prep is going well :-)


Currently Reading: The Christmas Visit Anthology
Link of the Day: Vote on Best Hero/Heroine in RT's American Title Contest

Monday, December 19, 2005

Monday morning post...

Well, I survived all the snow and Sean made it back home relatively on time. We spent the weekend catching up and getting chores down, including a huge grocery run yesterday.

On Saturday afternoon we went to see Pride and Prejudice. I really liked it :-) I'm already a fan of Matthew MacFadyen - from MI5, in which he played a rather intense and moody spy in a troubled relationship, so I was able to buy him as Darcy. And I thought KK did a great job as Lizzie - really captured what I've always interpreted as her spirit. The scenery was gorgeous and if I get Christmas money, the Soundtrack will definitely be on my list of things to buy. Granted, it's been a while since I've read the book, so I likely missed some of the moved scenes etc, BUT, it's a story I know so well and I think the director picked the right events to showcase. And, being Canadian, I was immensely proud of Donald Sutherland's turn as Mr. Bennet - the scene at the end when he gives his permission for her to marry Darcy really tugged on my heartstrings.

We put up our Christmas tree the other day, the artificial one, and discovered it may not work too well either. Chloe immediately decided it's a chew toy. Soon after, Cleo decided to climb into it and chew as well *sigh*. It's in our walk-in closet for right now. So far it doesn't appear they've actually eaten any of it, so I may try again tonight or tomorrow and see how they react. Silly kitties. I did manage to decorate the mantel and so far Cleo has left it alone. Even my Nativity scene fit up there - my m-i-l brought me the figurines from Asia in the 90s and Sean built a stable for them.

And now, I'd best stop typing. My wrists are still really sore from all that shovelling (it took well over an hour to clear the car and then clean the driveway) and I still have to go to the office this morning and do the bank reconciliations for the business.

Will try to check in again in a couple of days - I'm trying to rest my wrists.


Just finished Reading: The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes - HIGHLY RECOMMENDE
About to Start Reading: The Christmas Visit - Harlequin Historicals Anthology 2004
Link of the Day: Current Future House now leading the pack (it's actually the Adams IV, but this shows off the house better)

Friday, December 16, 2005

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful...."

Well, the predicted snowstorm has actually transpired. Sometimes they tell us tons of snow is going to fall, then nothing happens. Not the case today! It can stop snowing ANY time, thank you very much.

Here are some pics of what's going in outside the house:

This is the view from my front door:

Here are a couple of shots of the deck:

This is what I see from the kitchen window:

And here's one from my office window:

I'm NOT looking forward to a) clearing the car and b) shovelling the snow. My wrists are already aching at the thought. But there's not much for it - I have to go to the airport this evening to get Sean (yay!!) and the car's not moving if it's covered in snow and has to back through a foot of snow. Ok, it could manage the latter (all-wheel drive), but the last thing Sean will want to do tomorrow morning is get up and shovel.

OTOH - once I'm done, I can come in and have hot chocolate in front of the fire. The cats will appreciate it :-) Cleo is sitting on my lap right now - after sitting on the kitchen windowsill chasing the snow outside through the glass. It was very cute. (As soon as I said that, she got up on my shoulders and attacked my head!!)

I also have to go for a walk at some point and get a money order from the bank. No way I'm driving until I have to - the roads should be clear by the time I leave for the airport.

Maybe once I've done some cleaning (I've let a few things slide while Sean's been away), I'll have time to sit down with a notebook and work out some details for my next story. After three weeks (has it been that long since I sent in my GH entry?), I'm really starting to feel the need to do some writing.

Anyway, that's about it from here today.

Kelly - hope the storm doesn't hit you guys as hard as it did us!!!


Currently Reading: The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes
Soon to be Reading: The Regency House Party Anthology
Link of the Day: Creativity Timeline

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Margaret tagged me again - and THIS time I noticed right away :-)

Seven Things to Do Before I Die:
1. Go to Poland
2. Revisit England
3. Ride a horse
4. Have a manuscript published
5. Get my motorcycle license
6. Buy a piano (and return to playing it)
7. Drive all the way across Canada

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
1. Drive stick shift cars
2. Draw (with any semblance of skill)
3. Stop writing
4. Watch the episode of M*A*S*H when Col Blake dies without crying
5. Start my day without coffee
6. Exercise without my MP3 player (and fully charged batteries)
7. Resist going for a walk on a beautiful day

My Spouse
Seven Things that Attract Me to My Spouse (romantic interest, best friend, whomever, not necssarily in this order):

1. His smile
2. His eyes
3. His generosity (to everyone, not just me *g*)
4. His handyman skills
5. His dedication to family
6. His interest in history
7. The way he hugs me

Seven Things I Say (or write!) Most Often:
1. Cleo - get off the counter/out of the sink/off my head!
2. Darn
3. Wow!
4. Cool
5. You're kidding me
6. May I have a Grande, non-fat, 1 pump hazelnut latté, please
7. I love you/too

Seven Books (or series) I Love (I've borrowed a few from Margaret):
1. The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare
2. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
3. The School at the Chalet (and the 51 books that followed), by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
4. Katherine, by Anya Seton
5. The Falcons of Montabard, by Elizabeth Chadwick
6. The Wheel of Fortune, by Susan Howatch
7. A Century of November, by WD Wetherell

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again (once more, borrowing a few from Margaret *g*):
1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
2. A Room with a View
3. A Knight's Tale
4. Lady Jane
5. Casablanca (though I still tear up during the Marseillaise scene - it was my dad's fave part of the movie)
6. Gone with the Wind
7. Shaun of the Dead

Seven People I Want to Join In (Be Tagged):
1. Melissa
2. Rene
3. Kelly
4. Annette
5. Teresa H
6. Margery
7. Kathryn



Responding to comments

Melissa said - Wow. That meal looks absolutely divine! 12 courses, though? I'd probably be full after two! That's so neat that you continue part of the tradition, though. We do the same with my German-from-Russia grandmother and her butterball soup and my Italian grandfather's homemade raviolis. YUM.

Yep - 12 courses. They start at the sight of the first star - usually around 4pm and stretch things out till just before Midnight Mass. My father and his brother/s were lapsed Catholics, so we never made it to Church.

What a cool mixed heritage - must make for some yummy family potluck dinners!!

Tess H said - I know what you mean about the month. It's going way to fast!! And writing . . . I really haven't done much of that over the last week. Um . . . none actually.

I think a lot of us slow way down over the holidays. But I'm sure we'll all start up again in January :-)

Rene said - Wow, those are some way cold temperatures. No thank you.

Love the Wigilia. I wish I had a heritage that had such unique traditions. Our family tradition is to eat our own weight and then spend the rest of January throwing ourselves around about how much weight we gained.

Hey, I agree - I don't like the temps either, anymore, and I was born and bred to them!

Trust me, between Polish Christmas Eve, followed by a traditional English dinner the following day, lots gets eaten and we too spend January regretting at least some of the excess!


Currently Reading: The Other Side of the Story, by Marian Keyes

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Can't believe how fast the month is going!!

Wow, time is just flying. Got my Christmas box off to my sister yesterday - hope the kids enjoy their presents! Especially the Dora hat I bought for my niece (she's crazy about Dora). And the pirate lego I found for my nephews *g*.

This morning I get to go to the dentist. Oh joy. Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it :-/ Then it's off to the office to get more work done there. To top it all off, it's -19º C here this morning. Yeah, you read that right - f******** cold, even for someone born and bred to it. There's a reason we're moving to BC.

My writing has dwindled away to pretty much nothing, though I did get some great ideas while on the eliptical trainer yesterday afternoon. Why do they always come to me then? Well, I know part of it is listening to music - that always gets my creative juices going. I need some method for recording stuff while sweating off my mother-in-law's yummy breakfasts. And I do have a review to write - I finished the book last night. It's my only one for this quarter and I'm happy to say it will be a positive one :-) Maybe once I'm finished all my Christmas prep I'll have time to do some work on my new book.

And speaking of Christmas prep, I have to figure out this week what decorations I can safely put up. Cleo is such a little monkey, I'm not certain anything breakable can be hung anywhere, and certainly no garlands of any sort. We're going to use the artificial tree. I prefer a real one, but I don't trust the cats not to knock over the watering system for the tree and that kind of stress I don't need. Not to speak of the needles they'd spread everywhere *g*. I know, I know, I'm really late starting - that's what happens when you go away at the end of November!

Christmas will be quiet this year - my mum, Sean and me. We're going to celebrate with the traditional Polish Wigilia on the 24th, followed by dinner with friends on the 25th. Wigilia is an important part of my heritage and I really enjoy all the traditional Polish food - well, not so much the borscht, but the herring and uszka are really yummy. When I was little, we used to have the full 12 courses - my grandmother worked for weeks before hand to have all the food ready, then we'd go to my uncle's for the meal - it generally got very loud and rowdy. Now we have only smoked salmon, pickled herring, borscht and uszka followed by poppyseed cake or pierniki (little honey spice cakes).

Mmmm - now I'm hungry! But there's not time for that - must get ready for that trip downtown. And hope the car starts, what with the cold temps and all.


Currently Reading: The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes
Link of the Day: Archival Sources for the Study of Polish Canadians

Fun quiz

Found this at Gabrielle's blog and thought it looked fun!

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Each year, you really get into the spirit of Christmas.
Which is much more important to you than nifty presents.

Hmm - sounds about right :-)


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

15 Facts about me and books

I WAS tagged! Sorry, Margaret - I hadn't finished all my catch-up blog-hopping before saying I hadn't been tagged.

So, here I am, sharing 15 facts or personal preferences about books:

1) According to my mum, I learned to read at age 4.

2) My fave books as a kid included English school stories (St. Clares, Mallory Towers, Chalet School), Anne of Green Gables, Caddie Woodlawn and the Little House books.

3) I've been collecting books for as long as I can remember - still have most of the books listed above.

4) My favourite room in my grade school was the library. I learned how to treat books with respect from the school librarian, Mrs. Shore (yep, I still remember her name and what she looked like). She was very particular about how books were handled.

5) In middle school I worked in the school library - the librarian there was Mr. Dalton. He was great.

6) A few years ago my husband and I considered opening a bookstore. I even attended Bookselling school, but we decided against it after writing a business plan and looking at the local market. Turns out we did the right thing. One of the reasons we made our decision was that a long-established independent opened a second store in the area we were considering. They declared bankruptcy on the first of this month. Fortunately they incorporated that second store separately from their main one, so it, at least is still fine.

7) History books have always been among my favourites. In the aforesaid grade school library I found a series about the lives of the great composers and remember reading them all.

8) Going to book sales is one of my past times. Sean and I often plan motorcycle routes around them - you would be surprised about how many books the saddlebags of a motorcycle can hold :-) One of my favourite sales almost always takes place the weekend closest to my birthday, so going to it is a birthday tradition - even though it's way on the other side of town. I arrive early to line up (usually in the cold as I'm a November baby), canvas bags clutched in my hand, then make a dash for the History section as soon as the doors open.

9) During my fourth year of university, I earned spending money (you guessed it) working in the library. It was so much fun (well, most of the time - shelf reading was never my fave activity, especially as I invariably got caught up looking at the books rather than just checking they were shelved in the correct order *g*). The best days were those I got to go into the Storage area in the basement of the library - rare and old books were kept there, but we were sent down either 1) to pull those requested or 2) to reshelve those just returned. I just LOVE the smell of books.

10) I'm a complete geek when it comes to my book collection. My books are shelved according to topic and a good number of them have been entered into my cataloguing software (Book Collector), which allows me to export the list to my PalmPilot. Recently I bought the Personal Library Kit - which includes cards, pockets, and date due stamp. AND I'm working on a cataloguing system and hope one day to label all my books, though right now I have bookplates in many of them.

11) My husband shares my love of books and seeks out the used bookstore in any town we're going to visit. Or, if he's away on business, finds a used bookstore and buys me something there :-)

12) We belong to a non-fiction bookclub. Yep, non-fiction. Have read lots of interesting books over the last four years - many of which I'd never have read otherwise.

13) I've been reviewing books for almost six years and really enjoy it. Not only do I get to expand my reading horizons, but I meet interesting authors.

14) I can't travel without a book. Even on camping trips with the motorcycle, I have a paperback (or two) stashed in my luggage.

15) I'm often reading two or three books at the same time - usually at least one fiction and one non-fiction. But sometimes they're all one or the other.

I now tag Kelly and Annette.


Currently Reading: Book for review
Also Currently Reading: The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes
Link of the Day: Library Thing

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Random Sunday ramblings...

Well, I'm mostly recovered from my jetlag now, though Cleo decided at 7:25 this morning that I needed to wake up. Fortunately she chose only to give my nose a kiss to achieve her goal *g*. It was very sweet.

Our trip went well, though we didn't end up deciding on a house yet. The builder we'd hoped to go with can't start building for at least a year. He's still in the running, but we're considering other options now too. Including this one - Mandala Homes, or even designing and building it with a local contractor. We'll just have to see.

I do like the idea of the round house - it would fit in well, be low profile and has lots of health/environmental benefits. Sean's still out there seeing to other things.

We also managed to squeak in a visit with our niece for her birthday :-) That was fun. It's always nice to be able to share her special day - especially while she's at an age to really enjoy it. Meeting her kittens (see the pics from the other day) was a hoot! They're just gorgeous and so affectionate.

Other than that, we visited with family/friends, did some Christmas shopping, went on lots of walks with Tiva the dog and just hung out and relaxed. Oh, and did our Christmas cards *g*, though I forgot to bring the address labels with me, so had to hand address all the cards *groan*. THAT didn't help my CTS much. My wrists are still really sore, but my MouseMitt Keyboarders were waiting for me when I got home, so I'm hoping they'll make a difference.

The cats are doing fine. Cleo spends a lot of time glued to my side and they've both spent the last few nights on the bed with me - which is nice, as sleeping without Sean isn't very easy for me. While we were gone, one of them managed to set off the alarm system while the catsitter was out! When she let us know, we had her move the litter boxes upstairs, then close the basement door, so they couldn't trigger that zone again. They don't set off the upstairs one, which is a good thing. Cleo was freaky with the sitter at first, but soon settled down. But clearly she missed me as she's been super affectionate since I got home (by that I mean - sitting ON my head while I'm at the computer!)

Anyway, I must be off. My mum and I are going to a concert this afternoon, and I still need to do some house cleaning as she may come back here afterwards for pizza :-)

Happy Sunday!

Teresa (who, though she wasn't tagged, hopes to do the Book Meme soon)

Currently Reading: Book for review
Also Currently Reading: The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes
Link of the Day: Family Search (based in SLC)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Home again...

and it's snowing here now! Hmm, seems like a theme *g*.

I'm pretty exhausted, so have taken the easy way out and posted photos from our trip below. I still have to go to the office and take care of some stuff there, then come back home and do my final enotes column. I'll post more thoroughly tomorrow :-)

The cats were thrilled to see me - though they did wreak some havoc whilst I was gone - more on that later.

Happy Friday!


Currently Reading: The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes
Recently Read: Strength Within: The Granger Chronicles by Lee Ann Eckhardt Smith
Link of the Day:
Me with Trouble, Shanni (our future sister-in-law) with SugarB. Posted by Picasa
Nylah with Trouble. Posted by Picasa
Trouble and SugarBelly (SugarB for short). Posted by Picasa
Nylah with Trouble - take 2. Posted by Picasa
Tiva enjoying yet more snow :-) Posted by Picasa
One of the walking trails we use - isn't it gorgeous? Posted by Picasa
Me with Tiva - on another of our w-a-l-k-s *g*. Posted by Picasa
Our building site with snow and sun. Posted by Picasa
The llamas enjoying their alfalfa. Posted by Picasa
The lake in the sun - we had some of that too! Posted by Picasa
Tiva on the snowy road - she loves when we visit cause we take her for lots of w-a-l-k-s - the word has to be spelled out unless you mean you're taking her out right away *g*. This road is near our building site. Posted by Picasa
Snow falling on cedar house. Posted by Picasa
Tiva watching the snow fall (and barking at the ducks) Posted by Picasa
A view from our property - in the snow :-) Posted by Picasa
House in the snow. Posted by Picasa
Snowy morning on the lake Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Heading home today!!

Well - in a few hours I'll be on the plane headed home. Will do a little shopping here in Vancouver before I go :-)

We've had lots of snow here - which is kinda funny, considering we're moving here to get away from winter *g*.

Looking forward to catching up on all the blogs!

See y'all soon :-)