Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Life's Too Short

I got this in my Fortune Cookie today. I'm going to get it laminated. Maybe make a keyring or something. Nothing like positive thoughts to keep me going.

As an avid listener, I find myself on the receiving end of a lot of complaining - at work, at home, even at the grocery store. Maybe I have a sympathetic face, who knows?
People complain about lack of communication, but don't bother to tell management that their computer isn't working. They complain about not being included in corporate events, but don't attend the annual Christmas Party.

They complain the house is a dump, but don't mow the lawn for weeks at a time. If their hair is curly, they want it straight. If it's straight, they want it curly. They're too skinny, too fat, too hot, too cold.

Some people make a living at complaining. They jab at their partners, parents and children with sharp-witted and humorous glee on television, movies and on the stage. Stand up comedy would be nowhere without complaining.

Don't get me wrong - it's okay to bitch once in a while, but when it starts to sound like a broken record, maybe complainers need to take a step back and look at their lives. Even when life seems like it's shitting on them at every turn, they don't realize how precious it is.

Perhaps they have spouses and children who love them. Even if they aren't rich and famous, they have the company of friends who see beyond the negativity and give them the support they need.

Patry Francis , who often has every right to complain, quoted Woody Allen:

"Life is divided up into the horrible and the miserable. The horrible would be terminal cases, blind people, cripples. The miserable is everyone else. When you go through life you should be thankful that you're miserable."

My little cousin Austin fought a courageous battle with cancer for five years, finally succumbing at the tender age of eight. Every step of the way he laughed, played and came up with marvelous insights about life, death, friends, Heaven and Pokémon. Even as he was wheeled through the parking lot on a gurney while being transported by ambulance from one hospital to another, he asked the paramedic to stop so he could catch the raindrops on his tongue.

When you are inclined to complain, stop and think about your Fortune.

What is your Fortune? Is it money? Fame? Contentment? Family? A spectacular sunset? Tell me.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Fan Girl

It's that time again.

Yes, you heard me. Hockey time. It's only pre-season, but tonight our local sports channel is airing the first Leaf game of the 2008-2009 season.

Every year, the diehards exclaim, "Maybe this will be the year."

Every season, we're disappointed. As the summer wears on and fall approaches, our hope springs forth once again. We're such positive thinkers!

Curtis Joseph, a local boy, first joined the Leafs in 1998, after a stellar stint in Edmonton. He stood on his head year after year to keep the pucks out of the net and earned the adoration of the usually critical Toronto fans. Later, he moved on, and now he has returned as the backup goalie. His nickname is Cujo.

A couple of years ago I saw him in the craft store at the local mall browsing with his wife and daughter. I quickly scanned my brain to come up with a suitable opening line.

I had one. I approached and said, "Funny you should be here when I'm looking for a clock mechanism for my Toronto Maple Leaf Goalie Clock." (I was, really!)

He smiled and said, "Too bad you didn't bring the clock. I could have signed it."

I fished around in my purse for a scrap of paper for him to sign, and I found one of my pet portrait business cards with stuff scribbled on the back. "All I have is my card, and it's got stuff on it."

I handed it to him. He looked at the card and said, "Oh, you paint dogs?"

"And horses," I said. He has horses. Yes, I'm a pathetic hockey fangirl. "You can keep the card."
Hey, why not drum up business?

He handed the card to his daughter. "Here you go."
Damn, she's gonna lose it.

His wife stood nearby, looking slightly annoyed. Afterward, I felt awful for not saying hello to her. She must get that fangirl stuff all the time.

I asked the lady at the counter for a piece of paper, and Curtis gave me a nice autograph for my son.

Wouldn't it be cool if I got a current or former NHLer to read Bad Ice? That would be a blurb to beat all blurbs. I sent an email to Cujo through the Leafs site offering a free book, but no answer. Well, it's worth a try!

When I'm famous, perhaps Cujo will dig up my card and think, "Hey, I have Sandra Cormier's business card! I wonder what it'll get me on EBay?"

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Tea for Eighty

Yesterday I attended a Victorian tea party, part of a fundraiser for a church in Bradford, a neighbouring town. After I crawled around the house looking for two matching black shoes and squeezed into the only dress that still semi fits, I picked up my neighbour Carol and her friend Rosemary.

They had an art sale, with paintings arranged along the pews. Lovely stuff! A big room at the back of the church was filled with ladies of all ages at tables that seated six. Tiered trays were placed at the centre of each table, adorned with little sandwiches and cakes and scones and tea and coffee. Alas, no sherry.

There was a contest for Best Hat, but all I had were cowboy hats and baseball caps. Some of the ladies really worked hard to make their lids attractive. A woman in the corner made hers by hand with satin, pearls and ostrich feathers in the back. It was lovely.

Another lady in her nineties decked out her mother's jewel green wide-brimmed straw hat with flowers from her garden. She even visited the field behind her house and snagged a few clovers to complete the look.

One lady had a red hat with a cardinal perched on the top. A fake one, not a real one.

After the awards were handed out for Best Hat, a woman arrived late - decked out in a wide brimmed hat, white elbow length gloves and a parasol. She was obviously wearing a corset because her décolletage almost grazed her chin.

Her friend at a neighbouring table asked if they could sit with us since there were two chairs free. Victorian Lady sat down and announced she was a writer. Everyone at the table pointed at me. "She's a writer, too."

Our new guest told us she writes for Red Sage under the name Chevon Gael. She's a lively, exuberant lady who's been writing for many years with several novels under her belt. We immediately exchanged cards and passed around to the rest of the table, too. I fully intend to pick her brain for tips on giving readings and signings in our area.

Her friend is a librarian. She graciously listened without interruption while Chevon and I babbled enthusiastically about the e-publishing world. It's refreshing to be able to talk about writing without the listener's eyes glazing over.

I had a great time. In two weeks Carol and I embark on another adventure, all the way to the foot of our street to attend a fund raiser for our local hospital.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Lit Soup has Bad Ice up on her Blog

Jenny Rappaport over at L. Perkins Agency has been kind enough to allow us upwardly mobile authors to promote our books on her blog. Mine is first up! Hop on over to her blog, Lit Soup and have a look.

If you have a book you're promoting, fire her an email!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Bad Ice Available In Print

I was just informed today that Bad Ice is now available at Champagne Books in trade paperback format. I'm ordering a bunch, so Bernita, your copy will be mailed to you soon!

It's not on Amazon yet, but Champagne is pretty good about mail orders, and they'll take a cheque if you don't like to mess with credit cards. I ordered one through the site (as a civilian) and it was pretty easy. I'll let you know how fast it ships!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Fighting Like Cats and Dogs

Yeah. Really. Cats and dogs.

Three years ago, Chester the dog and Ridley the cat had a pretty violent tiff, in which the dog received a poke in the nose, the cat got a hole in his neck, and my husband almost lost a finger. We figured it was super hot that day, the animals were miserable, and the cat hadn't been fixed yet. They kissed and made up, and things were uneventful... until last week.

We put the dog out as usual, but when he came back in, Ridley got right up in his grill and made him nervous. Chester scooted down the hall to get the lamprey off him, but Ridley kept at it, trying to decipher some smell the dog had brought in.

In his rush to get away from the cat, Chester tried to jump on my daughter's bed, but he's not as spry as he used to be. He missed and fell on the cat.

Well, you can imagine how insulted Ridley became. I guess forty pounds of dog landing on your head can be pretty upsetting when you're a cat. He latched onto the dog's face, howling ad hissing. Chester, in a panic, pinned the cat down and gave off the most horrendous high-pitched snarls.

Add the kids' screams to the mix and I ran into the bedroom, shouting at the dog to leave. He scrambled out and we locked the cat in the bedroom to allow him to calm down. The dog just looked confused.

After a day and a half of growls and howls and the judicious use of baby gates, they finally sniffed noses and gave each other the old half-hearted 'guy hug', kinda like Joey and Chandler in Friends.