Thursday, 24 December 2009

Making New Memories

Remember the Christmas when Grandma had a little too much to drink? Big brother Mike's surprise visit from overseas? The time everyone was stuck in a blizzard?

As we grow older, we mark the passing years with events rather than numbers. Christmas makes a convenient bookmark and helps us break the merging years into compartments. Happy ones, sad ones, lonely ones and often hilarious ones.

My French Canadian family always got together for Christmas Eve. This usually involved an overnight trip to Hamilton, where one of my dad's many siblings hosted the event.

I remember the year my sister invited her boyfriend and his best friend to accompany us to the extended family Christmas in Hamilton. Ken wasn't there five minutes when he knocked a display of knick knacks off the wall and shouted, "It wasn't me!" before the crash on the floor.

Once, my parents hosted in the house I now own. The tree was in the family room, and Dad had a swivel rocker beside the tree. My aunt leaned back a little too far and flipped backwards into the tree, her legs in the air.

There was the year I writhed in pain with a bad bout of the flu. I lay in my cousin's bed, wracked with pain while my dad sat on the edge of the bed stroking my forehead and murmuring, "I hate to see you like this."

There was the year my great uncle Edgar told a story in his heavy French accent about sneaking his buddies from The Legion into the apartment for a party while his wife was away. They burned a hole in the carpet and he tried to cover it up with fibre shavings and glue. When she 'got out the Hoover' and vacuumed up the patch, she was convinced the carpet was defective and had it torn out and returned to the store.

I remember my cousins and I playing ping pong in Uncle Eric's basement (which was perpetually decorated for Christmas - even in July). We talked about our crushes while our parents shouted "Yatzee!" in the dining room upstairs until the wee hours of Christmas morning.

After the cousins grew and nurtured their own families, we still got together a couple of weeks before Christmas. All the aunts and uncles and many cousins smoked like chimneys in Uncle Tony's farmhouse basement while little ones ran around, jumping on the furniture.

In recent years, Christmas has been celebrated in turn at my siblings' and inlaws' homes. We've had our own 'comedies of errors' like the time my brother in law overcooked the Christmas goose while waiting for my husband to arrive with his mother - many hours late. We ate the burned goose and invited Victor from next door to play his accordion. My sister and I ran outside to watch dancing shadows spill from the dining room window, across the sparkling snow.

Today I'll be vacuuming up dog hairs and peeling vegetables in preparation for my siblings to visit this house, the one we grew up in. I hope we create many memories here for ourselves, our grown children and their future families.

We'll be missing some key members of the family - my parents are on either end of the country, celebrating with their friends and loved ones but we'll be in their hearts and they'll be in ours. My husband's family is no longer with us, but we'll remember the great meals Nana made and the silly songs Grandpa sang.

My sister in law's family will be in Cuba, likely starting a tradition of their own.

Happy Holidays to all of you, and may 2010 be a stellar year or everyone.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

...And the Bronze medal goes to:

Yours truly! Today we had our Second Annual Ugly Sweater Day, and the competition was stiff. You may remember last year's entry.

Miranda used a huge felt stocking and cut out the bottom, decorating it with accouterments from the dollar store. The candy canes pinned to her back almost lost the title for her as they caused her to complain of back pain throughout the day.

Suzanne sported a lovely Frosty The Snowman outfit complete with holly-trimmed tophat and a snowman balaclava that could scare the piss out of any child.

Jean-Claude wore your standard black and white psychedelic sweater and he thought a Santa Hat would put him in the running. No dice, JC. You didn't cut the mustard.

Russ thought it would be funny to wear a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater since he considers that to be the ugliest sweater of all. I'll forgive him since he's a Habs fan.

I strutted around with my second-hand store treasure, purchased at Value Village, a second hand store which benefits needy families. I posed like a runway model to pimp more loose change, shaking my jar with the 'Sandy Claus' label.

Our goal was to entice our work colleagues to donate money toward the ugliest sweater, with all proceeds going to our Santa Fund which benefits local needy families.
Through Ugly Sweater Day, our department raised $105 for an elderly lady to enjoy her Christmas. It's enough for a warm coat. We also chipped in with our own money to get additional gifts for her and her cat.

I hope everyone will think of individuals and families who have few resources to celebrate this Holiday Season and that you'll be generous when you see a local charity asking for donations.

During our turkey dinner lunch, I let slip that next year we should try a Christmas Carol Karaoke contest to raise funds. Eep, the publisher was right beside me. I'll bet we'll be doing that next year.

And I'll win, bitches!!!!

Monday, 7 December 2009

A Nice Review for Bad Ice

I awoke this morning to a nice surprise. On the first day with snow that stuck, I received a lovely little review for Bad Ice from Bernita Harris. Bernita had won a copy of my book last year in a contest.

What sets Bernita's review apart from the others is her emphasis on the personality of the psychotic ex-girlfriend, Sheila rather than the romance between Jason and Christina.

Bernita specializes in suspense and paranormal writing. She has been away from us for a while, but she's back and better than ever!

Thank you, Bernita, for a lovely review!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

My Dream Home

Jason Evan's post about a recurring dream reminds me of a house I've visited dozens of times, yet I've never been there.

His place is eerie, but mine is awesome.

It sits at the end of a long dirt driveway, facing south. It's a "post and beam" home with an open concept. Windows line the sides and front, but the back has a solid wall, at least on the ground floor. It has warm barnboard walls and ceilings crisscrossed by thick wooden beams. Further back are guest rooms and a lot of bathrooms. I probably dream up all those bathrooms because I have to pee in the middle of the night. :)

A wooden staircase is in the middle of the house, open on all sides. It climbs three or four stories in a zig zag pattern. Along the way are random doors, some leading to more rooms and one a secret passageway with a shortcut to the basement. I remember a room at the very top, like a copula with windows all around, showing a fantastic view. It has a daybed with plenty of colourful cushions and a thick quilt. I imagine reading or writing up there, with the sunset streaming in.

The basement is a single space, like the ground floor of a barn. Lots of garden tools line the walls. It's dark because the windows are small, but light spills in when I open the large swinging doors that lead to the back. I'm guessing it's an underground garage slash workshop.

On the main floor, the kitchen is on the other side of the staircase. It is open to the living/dining area, like one big Great Room. The kitchen has cupboards with glass windows. I open the cupboard doors to see delicate looking plates on vertical racks. The next cupboard has elegant glassware and some vases or pitchers. All the cupboards have interior lighting, like little halogen pot lights, making the glassware sparkle.

The sink is one of those deep square copper lined deals, but it's full of dirty dishes! My dream house is a slob.

Antiques and collectibles fill every corner of the house, especially the second floor. Some are stored in trunks that serve as tables. From a window on the second floor I can see down the length of the driveway while sitting in a wooden rocking chair. I can see cars approach in plenty of time to head for the front door to greet visitors.

Behind the house, a path leads north through gently rolling terrain to open water. I think it's a large lake rather than the sea. It is often grey - I don't see the sun shining often in this place. Smooth rocks form an inlet, like a sheltered beach. The water here is shallow and clear. I imagine we have bonfires here.

I don't know why I dream about this house. I don't think it exists. But wouldn't it be cool if it did? In the meantime, I think I'll use this house in a future book.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

A Holiday to Treasure (or Forget)

I have experienced (but have not necessarily hosted) Thanksgiving dinners that have ranged from a Martha Stewart affair to something out of The Beverly Hillbillies. Thanksgiving doesn't seem to carry the same weight here in Canada as it does in the States - it’s pretty safe to say that we tend to reserve our real disasters for Christmas. Yup, we've had some doozies.

I like to divide Thanksgiving into two columns:

  • Turkey or microwave lasagna
  • Simmered cranberries in orange sauce or that squishy red log that comes out of a can with a thwup sound
  • Warm, steamy pumpkin muffins made from scratch or that frozen pie you slide into the oven and ends up charred on the edges
  • Green bean casserole or… er, sorry, I don't have a B column for that one. As a Canadian, I don't understand bean casserole. I think it belongs in both columns.
  • A time to embrace your family or a time to watch them while they have a full blown smack down fight about past wrongs
  • Whipped cream or edible oil product
  • Checking out the corn maze or trying to find a parking spot at the mall on Black Friday
  • Ralph Lauren or ugly Christmas sweaters
  • Macy's Parade or traffic jams getting to Mom's house
  • Cabernet or Bud Light
  • The sweet scent of good cooking or Uncle Edgar's post-meal farts

Which is your Thanksgiving? I sincerely hope that even with all its disasters, my American friends have a happy, healthy and stress-free weekend.

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Royal Treatment

This past weekend my daughter and I drove to the city's edge and hit the subway to attend the annual Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. We hadn't been to this event since she was a wee girl, back when she really, really wanted to meet Ian Millar's valiant steed Big Ben, a prolific Grand Prix jumper.

We rode the subway downtown and ca
ught the 509 Streetcar from Union Station. I didn't realize my daughter had never been on a streetcar. We rattled along Queen's Quay, passing Harbourfront and almost got off a stop too early. A couple with a toddler did get off too early and I guess they had to walk the rest of the way. Good thing they had a stroller.

The venue was huge. Retail booths filled the main concourse and I checked out a pair of leather riding boots. Seven hundred bucks!

We followed our noses to the food section and joined an infinite lineup for ten dollar chicken fingers. After ten minutes we lost patience and wandered about until we found a place that sold Chinese food. Eight bucks for a scoop of white rice and one spring roll and a few broccoli florets, but it gave us enough energy to carry on.

We found the cow exhibits and I waited while Beth sketched a few of them. I still can't get over how funny looking cows are. It's a miracle they can walk with those Dolly Parton udders between their legs. Hip bones and shoulder blades stuck out everywhere as they lounged in thick beds of straw. If aliens ever landed on Earth and saw a cow, they'd probably laugh their gills off.

The sheep were cuter. We saw sheep with coats, sheep with smiles and sheep with dreadlocks. One unfortunate Suffolk was in the middle of a panic attack, climbing the rails and blaring like an ambulance. Several keepers descended on the fellow to settle him down.

I picked a chunk of sheared wool off the floor and stuck it in my bag, but Beth made me throw it away. Humpf.

We climbed a steep wooden ramp to the upper levels of the Horse Palace and watched Arabians trot around a ring and looked at Percheron asses sticking out of standing stalls.

I watched chickens lay eggs and sampled jams, jellies and incredibly hot mustards.

Just before leaving, a voice over the PA system said, "Will the owner of a brown and white beagle puppy please report to the Lost Children Booth."

You gotta love agricultural fairs, even in the city.

Friday, 13 November 2009

She's Back!

I just wanted to pop in to say that our dear Bernita is back. We all missed her terribly and her return is like a fresh breeze. Welcome back, Bernita!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

How I'm Spending My Fall Staycation

I scheduled a week's holiday but in spite of my shiny new passport, I have nowhere to go. I'm itching to go to NYC (as is my daughter) but I'll have to wait for a great excuse (an agent, perhaps?) and the means (lottery, anyone?).

Whaddaya know, the kids have their Reading Week break on the same week. Oh, well... not much writing time but we're having fun anyway!

We rented Beatles Rock Band and my arms are sore from being Ringo. My son forgot the microphone at college so I can't sing. Darn.

I installed a security strap on our green recycling bin. So far, it's working. The critters haven't managed to open it and spread coffee grounds and eggshells all over the driveway. Suck it, raccoons!

Tuesday night we had the opportunity to attend Standup For Kids at Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. It featured a great lineup of comics - some you know and some were new to me: Mike Wilmot, Lewis Black, Seth Meyers, Irwin Barker, Kate Davis, Nikki Payne & Rob Pue.

I was pissing-my-pants laughing throughout the whole thing. They ran the gamut of motherhood to geriatric sex. Definitely for adult ears, but I sure got a great sense of what is funny these days.

I think Lewis Black is currently the Sage of stand-up comedy. He's developed a professional routine that presses every button. Out of the lineup, I enjoyed Irwin Barker's diffident delivery that reminded me of Bob Newhart.

Seth seemed to have a sore throat, but he was a trooper. My kids knew his whole routine by heart, bless them.

The Wintergarden Theatre was beautiful. It's on the upper level, above the Elgin. Seating is intimate with a capacity of around 1000 and the ceiling is covered with golden grape leaves and little lights. There isn't a bad seat in the house except perhaps for the one behind the tree trunk.

Yesterday we went to the mall so I can spend no money. Okay, I bought Halloween candy and the kids have already reduced it by one-third. We'll pick up a couple of pumpkins so my artist daughter can do her handiwork. I don't expect anyone will actually see them, since last year we had a total of zero-point-zero-zero trick or treaters. Thus, we can eat the other two-thirds of the candy.

I plan to convince my hubby to fire up the reciprocating saw he bought last week. No, not to film our own Halloween horror but to tear out and replace the horrible faucet in the basement powder room. If he gets carried away and takes out the whole bathroom, I won't mind in the least.

Last but far from least, I reached THE END on my WIP of The Yearbook. Now all I have to do is dive back in and add some spit & polish.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

And The Winners Are...

First of all I want to thank the participants for their lovely stories about friendship and generosity. It's amazing how much we would do for our friends.

A few hightlights:

Liane said, "
We are programmed to be gentle, understanding and supportive of our friends no matter what, but sometimes the unvarnished truth is what they need to hear." This is so true. Although we want to make things easier for our friends, sometimes the tough approach will help set them on a better path.

Pat said,
"I would wait for her till my last day then I would wait at the gates for her to arrive when ever that would be." True devotion through a lifetime, and beyond.

McKoala said,
"And whether it's the right decision or the wrong decision, if it's what she wants, I help her to stand by it." Sometimes our friends just need us to be there for them, even if they make mistakes.

Dondi said,
"It is a bond to be unbroken and words that never have to be spoken." Funny how our friends sometimes know when something's wrong, even if we don't call out for help.

Donna said,
"I would do all that I could if I could." Sometimes simplicity is best. Just be there for your best friend.

Dhympna said,
"I would do just about anything...even clean up puke and be puked upon." Yup, aside from puking toddlers, I've had to hold a friend's hair back more than once. That reminds me, my daughter puked rainbows once. She'd had a bowl of Froot Loops.

And finally, my mom Frances said,
"She spent her last days at home, many nights I would listen just to her breathing for hours. Sometimes she would say 'Frannie,are you still there?'

I would say, 'I'm still here.'"

My mother's friendship with Nolie was extra special. Back in her healthy days, Nolie would talk for hours without taking a breath. My mom could make a cup of tea and start supper, then go back to the phone. Nolie didn't know the difference, happily prattling on.

Okay, I entered seven names in the draw, folded them up really tight and drew in the order of 3rd to 1st Prize.

3rd Place goes to... McKoala! Koala Bear, please email me your address and I'll put your copy of The Toast Bitches on the next boat to Down Under Land. Let me know how you'd like me to personalize your copy.

2nd Place is Dhympna! Please let me know where to send your copies of The Toast Bitches and Bad Ice, and how you'd like them inscribed.

And 1st Prize goes to Donna! I already know your address, so look for a package in the mail soon. Shoot me a Facebook message if you want me to write something special in your copy of The Toast Bitches (or you can just let me surprise you). Congratulations, and remember to share the wine when you take it to a party in its cozy blanket.

I hope all of you enjoy the books, and thank you so much for participating. You are all great friends.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

What Would You Do for your Best Friend?

Sometimes a writer works through adversity and crafts the best novel they can in spite of the odds. When I wrote The Toast Bitches a year ago, I drew upon the lifelong loyalty and friendship that can get a girl through her darkest days. Although The Toast Bitches is purely fiction, I borrowed from the personalities (with their permission) of three wonderful women I've known for over twenty years.

I strove to show how best friends can support each other through bad boyfriends, bad hair days and bad sex. Even when people lack judgement, their BFFs guide them out of the jungle of big mistakes.

I'd like to celebrate the trade paperback release of The Toast Bitches by having a giveaway contest!

Just tell me (in the comment section) what you would do for your Best Friend Forever in a given situation. Use your imagination. This will also work for Wing Men (guys, you could learn a thing or two from this book) and Sisters, too.

The Toast Bitches is on the super spicy side when it comes to sex, so be warned. Also, in spite of the explicit content of this novel, please keep your comments on the tame side. After all, this is a PG (Pretty Good) blog. But try to amuse the other posters, too! Oh, what a delicate balance between naughty and nice.

I'll randomly draw for three prizes:

First Prize: An autographed copy of
The Toast Bitches plus a beautiful "Wine Cozy" (hand-knitted to replicate the famous Hudson's Bay blankets) created by my good friend Debbie Hannigan. Perfect to keep your bottle warm or cold when going for a BNO (Bitches Night Out).

Second Prize: One autographed copy each of The Toast Bitches and
Bad Ice. If you already own Bad Ice, you can give it as a gift - just let me know the name of the recipient so I can personalize it accordingly.

Third Prize: One autographed copy of The Toast Bitches.

The contest is open now, and will close at midnight, Wednesday October 21, Eastern Whatever Time. I'll announce the winner Thursday evening.

A quick recap of The Toast Bitches, as written by the lovely Fern at LASR:

"You have the youthful Hana, a woman that’s got a yen for the gorgeous but elusive Adam who isn’t what he seems. The saucy Pepper, a woman that has left behind domestic bliss for her unrealized version of happiness. The soft spoken Corinne, whose overly possessive husband is having an affair that ends their marriage. And the nurturer Paige, whose portrayed happy marriage isn’t as blissful at it seems.

...Each Toast Bitch represents an issue women face at some point in their lives–blind attraction, a bad marriage, a skeleton in the closet, the need to branch out even when what you want is directly in front of you–providing something everyone can relate to."

Twits, please re-Tweet. Facebookies, please re-Face. I'll deliver the packages anywhere, just expect a slow boat if it's going to Australia.

Edited to Add: Anonymous participants, You don't have to sign into Blogger to comment, but please provide some kind of a name at the end of your post so I can identify you for the draw.

Let the BFF Marathon begin!

Monday, 12 October 2009

So Bitter Yet Still Sweet

I'm in a reflective mood today.

Sitcoms and movies generally depict the Thanksgiving Holiday as a time when emotions rise to the top. Sometimes the characters air old grievances, only to discover the true meaning of family arising from the ashes of a burnt meal.

Sometimes family secrets slip out by accident, sparking loud debates. Sometimes the rigid patriarch fails to keep traditions intact, and slouches off to pout in a corner. The movie or show always seems to end with a group hug no matter how disfunctional the family.

In the past, our own Thanksgiving holidays have been, well, thankfully uneventful. We had small gatherings, saving the real party for Christmas. Our Thanksgiving is much earlier than the American holiday, so it sits apart from the Christmas launch.

As most of you remember, last Thanksgiving was the beginning of a month-long nightmare. A dear family member had a fight with his parents and ran away in a fit of temper. He didn't know that was his last day on Earth, and we didn't know for weeks afterward.

I wrote about the funeral while it was fresh in my mind, but didn't release the words to the public. I felt almost guilty for still having my children when my sister and brother in law lost one of theirs. I hope they don't mind if I tell you now.

The visitation on Thursday started an hour early for us, before the public. We arrived at the funeral home, running the gauntlet of a few photographers and news cameras.

When we joined the family in the reception room, they started a Power Point video with music, using photographs of Brandon from his birth to his teen years. We had contributed some of them, from countless birthday parties and family outings.
When the music started (John Lennon's Beautiful Boy) and the pictures flashed on the screen, my breath caught in my throat. His smile was brilliant in each photo and his spirit shone out at us. Everyone was sobbing. I'm glad we were able to see the whole presentation in its glory before anyone else got to see it.

Later, we sat and watched hundreds file past us to offer their condolences to Brandon's family. Some offered us their hands and hearts as they passed us. An hour passed and the people kept coming.

Eventually, we felt it was time to go since it was going to be a very long day for the family. We joined the line to say our goodbyes, and my niece handed us Sharpie markers and invited us to inscribe a message to Brandon on the casket.

I wrote, "Binky (that was his nickname), keep your stick on the ice. Love, Aunty Sandy."

We left through the lobby and saw the line of well-wishers stretch through the room, continuing out the front door.

Thursday night I had a fitful sleep, my dreams scattered. Whenever I woke up, one of the songs from the memorial video played in my mind. The last dream was disturbing – a mudslide in which people attempted to avoid being swept away by jumping into caskets. Weird.

We got up early Friday morning and arrived on time at the Crisp home. Already the kitchen was full to the gills. Gordon, a family friend, was scheduled to read letters from the family to Brandon. He was apparently nervous, drinking Stella Artois for breakfast.

We sorted ourselves out and piled into three limos for the procession to the funeral home. The limo driver was nice. When every light turned green, I asked him if the limo was programmed to do that or was it just a coincidence. He laughed and said he had a magic button.

We arrived at the funeral home and gathered again. We met Sgt. Dave Goodbrand, the detective in charge of the search for Brandon. The pain was clear in his eyes, and he looked exhausted. He'd been under some scrutiny in the media and I really felt sorry for him. We each shook his hand and thanked him for all his help.

After about a half hour, the Director gave instructions to the pallbearers (my husband included) and we got back into the cars to go to the church.
That was a difficult part. Everyone else was already inside waiting, and the press was assembled right beside the entrance. We waited for the casket and proceeded through yet another gauntlet.

It felt strange, having fifty-odd cameras trained at my face. I didn't look at the cameras, just kept my gaze trained at the doors.

We were right behind the family, and Brandon's twin sister finally unleashed her grief, sobbing uncontrollably as we walked into the church. My own kids clung to my arms as if they would never let go.

We waited in the alcove before proceeding into the main part of the church. Brandon's grandmother was right in front of me and I could see her head shaking as if she had an immense chill. I wrapped one arm around her. My other sister in law almost collapsed behind us. A family friend said, "A little help here?" and a church official quickly brought a chair.

Since we had joined the line right behind the Crisps, we were instructed to sit in the front row. During the service, Gordon read letters from the family to Brandon.
The first was from his twin. She talked about his sense of humour and that she lost her other half. His older sister (my son's age), said that when they got into fights, they wouldn't last long because he always made her laugh in the end. She said he was guaranteed a space in the VIP section in Heaven.

His mom said there was a hole in everyone's hearts now that he was gone, and his dad thanked him for everything – being a kid, being funny, being loved, and for being a beautiful boy.

Father Frank's homily was emotional and comforting. He talked about the importance of community, and how these events could only bring families closer together. His voice broke a few times. It must be so hard for clergy to deliver such heartbreaking sermons.

One of the things he said stuck in my mind. "Be cautious around those who tell you they know why Brandon died. Seek out those who tell you why Brandon lived."

After Communion, we left with the lovely choir singing above us. Again, a gauntlet of photographers. When the limos filed out of the driveway, we noticed a lone policeman in the shade of a pine tree, saluting. His search dog sat beside him.

Along the way, police cars blocked off intersections
to allow the procession through. Each officer stood beside his or her car, saluting us. Construction workers stood in a parking lot, their bright yellow hardhats held against their vests. A woman stood at a corner with her dog, and made the sign of the cross as we passed her.

The interment was equally emotional. Many mourners followed us to the cemetery and gathered around a canopy under which my husband and his fellow bearers put Brandon. We also added an urn containing the ashes of Brandon's grandfather, who had given him the nickname "Schmidt" because he was a strong little toddler.

After the interment, the limos dropped us off at an eatery close to the family's home. The owners laid out a great spread, and the place was stuffed with friends and family. We stayed for an hour or so, then figured it was a good time to go. It was really busy and we were soooo emotionally drained.

A year later, dear Binky is always in our hearts and dreams. He was and is a Beautiful Boy.

When I think of my family, my kids, my husband, I am truly thankful that we live and laugh together. I'm thankful that my kids talk out their grievances and hug them out afterward.

I'm truly thankful that we have such a beautiful planet, and each day on it is a joy for me. Fuzzy kittens, flowers and all that stuff.


Friday, 2 October 2009

Busy September in Chumplet Land

Let's see... We filled a dumpster with useless junk so the Danger Room isn't so dangerous any more.

We packed up our kids and shipped them off to college. They actually stayed put for two weeks at a stretch, so Chumpletland is quiet and reasonably tidy. They're here now because... well, because.

We had the eavestroughs and gutters replaced, with two extra downspouts at the front of the house. When the rain rain rain comes down down down, it no longer pours from the fireplace and it doesn't crawl across the basement floor. I no longer dread downpours. Let it rain, baby!

Three days ago, the furnace quit. I huddled in my bed with three layers of fuzzies and a magic bag warmed in the microwave. It almost lasted through the night. Almost. My little nose got cold. Hubby scheduled the furnace guy to visit the next day so I quickly swept up the furnace-slash-laundry-slash-ugly room so the repairman wouldn't be too grossed out.

I also gathered up the newspapers from the floor of the downstairs bathroom, just in case. Would a repair guy ask to use the bathroom? Nah, he wouldn't -- that would be inappropriate, right? Still, the downstairs bathroom is a bit of a shithole. Excuse me, I mean an ugly room lined with that paneling you see in construction site office trailers.

We've known the furnace guy for a while. He replaced our old oil furnace with a gas unit fifteen years ago and returned for a few inspections along the way. He moves a little slower these days, and I empathized as he plodded down the stairs and groaned while he crouched to look into the furnace's guts. He poked and prodded the innards of the furnace, then concluded that it had been shooting out almost twice the gas required to do the job. This caused the furnace to overheat and shut down in self-defense.

I was wondering why the gas bills had been slowly rising the last couple of years. I thought it was the rising price of natural gas.

Furnace guy headed out the front door to get a replacement part, but promptly returned asking if he could... OMG... use the bathroom. He looked a little anxious, so I instinctively said, "Okay." I mean, what heartless person could possibly say no?

My mind's eye flashed, seeing the crappy basement bathroom and the slightly less crappy main floor bathroom. I pointed him to the main floor loo and he thankfully retreated, tugging at his stained coveralls.

He was in there for what seemed like forever, but it was only about five minutes. Obviously the guy was suffering from some kind of gastric distress. I tried to ignore the sounds coming from the bathroom but living in a bungalow, you can't get far away from ANY sounds.

After profuse thanks, he went to get the part and returned with a couple of extra filters. $378 dollars later, I waved him out the front door. I ventured into the bathroom to give it a quick squirt of Airwick, and noticed the dust bunnies, toothpaste encrusted sink and the pile of towels on the floor. Boy, he must think we're total slobs. Oh, I forgot... we are.

I don't know who was more embarrassed, him or me. To lessen my pain, the least he could have done was throw in the $5 filters. I don't know what I could have done to lessen his pain.

The next day, my coveted box of books arrived: twenty shiny copies of The Toast Bitches. Hmm... maybe I should give one away? How about a contest?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Toast Bitches Released in Paperback!

I dawdled over to Amazon to check whether my sexy chick lit The Toast Bitches was in print yet, and whoopee! There it was! I don't know how long it was available in print (it says September 11) but it showed up in the search tonight.

I hope my friends will order a copy - reviews are on the sidebar. Be warned: it has adult content, so it's a little spicier than Bad Ice, and a LOT spicier than The Space Between. Still, it isn't quite as hawt as some of the other Ravenous Romance fare.

The ensemble cast features Hana, Paige, Connie and Pepper as they form a lasting bond at Dempster Media, gathering in the break room for tea and toast. When Pepper leaves the company, the girls add a new venue – Paige's cottage in the woods – where, over cocktails and gossip, the four friends trade secrets and sex tips.

Pepper abandons her domestic life, restlessly flitting from man to man looking for the perfect balance of sex and compatibility. Will she find it, or was it always right in front of her?

Sweet, sexy Connie's infinite patience can't save her when her jealous husband leaves her for another woman. Now single, she attempts to relocate her sensuality with a hunky handyman.

Paige is the earth mother, sprinkling snippets of advice like herbs on a salad. Married to her high school sweetheart, she seems to have the perfect life. But she carries her own secrets…

Small-town Hana tests her sexual boundaries with hot editor Adam, but she gets more than she bargained for. When he asks her to experiment with BDSM, she panics and calls off the relationship, setting off a chain of catastrophic events that brings the four women closer than ever.

The Toast Bitches juggle families, boyfriends, ex-husbands, bosses and each other in a hilarious and sexy roller coaster ride.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Who's a Bad Ass?

Eric Stone's post on badasses immediately made me think of my dad. At first glance, Dad doesn't look like tough guy, but as a child I always saw him as some mysterious entity hiding much more than the naked eye could see. His posture, his raised eyebrow and his dry comments told a deeper story than the accountant personae he revealed. Often, he struck fear in our misbehaving hearts with just one intense glare.

He once told me a story about being in a bar fight. He was minding his own business, having a beer when a fight broke out. Someone tossed a guy across his table just after he picked up his beer. He didn't spill a drop. When the table was swept clean of said guy, he put his beer back on the table. At least, that's how I remember the story.

He grew up in Minto, a mining town in northern New Brunswick. He has lots of tough guy stories, some true, and some probably not so much. He had many jobs: fim reel delivery guy for a major movie distributor, coal miner, tobacco picker. He used his razor sharp mathmatical brain to work his way to a white collar position at a national construction company, then was wooed by an international construction company to help out with a financial mess in Algeria. He still cruises around the world, having worked in places like Mexico, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and soon, Siberia.

In his travels, he made many friends. Some were high profile leaders of the equality movement who died for their beliefs, and some were associated (by family) with enemies of Democracy. He always seemed to leave a project just before a coup, an earthquake or a major government shakeup. I often joke that he's really a spy.

Gee, Dad, I hope I didn't blow your cover.

Happy 73rd Birthday to my favourite Bad Ass.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Where Pixies Abound

I'm a guest blogger over at Rachael de Vienne's blog Sha'el Princess of Pixies. I met Rachael in her pixie personae while visiting blogs like Miss Snark and Evil Editor. Her enchanting book, Pixie Warrior, is published by Drollerie Press.

Isn't that the sweetest cover?

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Another Starry Night

The views from our hotel

For our anniversary, we went to one of those places that folds the bathroom tissue
into a point in the public washrooms. We arrived according to my on-line receipt, but the lady behind the counter said we were a day early. Good thing I’d printed out the receipt – I showed it to her and she corrected the info on the computer. We were given a room, stat. I’m glad to say it still had a balcony facing the waters of the Trent-Severn waterway. It was also pretty fancy.

We had a few hours before meeting my friend Val and her husband Ted for dinner, so we took a walk into beautiful downtown Port Severn. It has forty marinas, ten residences, two hotels, an ice cream place and one general store. Bonus item: one liquor store. It’s also the kind of place where everyone says hello, even the kid riding by on his bike.

The Severn Bridge is a combination of a swing bridge (to let big boats through) and a lock for the smaller vessels. The bridge was closed to automobile traffic due to construction, so we had to walk across the locks to get to the bustling downtown area.

Check SpellingClosing the lower gates

Waiting for the water to rise

Two large wooden gates hold the water at bay, and the operators turn big cranks to open and close the gates. As one gate opens, the water rises in the lock, and boats rise with them. Then they close the gate and open the other one. It’s kinda like an escalator for boats so they can get past the falls. (John Elder Robison would love this stuff. He's totally into large turning cog things made of iron.)

Cogs 'n stuff

We explored the lower portion of the falls where the water churned violently from the dam opening, wearing the Shield rocks smooth. After exploring the rocks, we climbed up the stairs and squeezed past the mechanisms on the gates to reach the other side.

Lower portion of Severn River

We fought pedestrian traffic (one kid on a bike and a family of four) and picked up a bottle of wine to take back to our room in case Val and Ted decided to accompany us for a nightcap. They had promised a moonlight boat ride through the waterways after dinner.

We met them at the other hotel dining room and had a lot of laughs. Ted charmed Natasha the bartender into creating some pretty wild fruity-tinis for him, and we enjoyed the outrageously expensive meal.

After paying our half of the bill ($100 yikes!) we followed Val and Ted across the lawn to the darkened boat slips. I expected them to have a little 12-foot runabout with an outboard motor, but he stopped at a large pontoon ‘party boat’. I thought he was just joshing us until he turned on the motor. Woo Hoo!

Val had beers and coolers and a couple of blankets ready for us, and we pushed off into the waterway. We had a delightful leisurely cruise through misty waters and under a fantastic explosion of stars. The chill in the air collided with the soupy water and created swirls of mist on the surface. I stood at the front of the boat and felt as if we were floating on clouds.

Captain Ted on the SS Rodd

Ted knows these waters like the back of his hand - he spent every summer of his childhood around the bays and inlets. He pointed out sprawling cottages owned by CEOs and sports heroes. At one point, he cut the motor and we sat on the cushioned benches in the middle of Gloucester Pool, a wide area of the Trent waterway. We sat silently in the darkness, listening to loons. Someone at a cottage beyond the trees set off fireworks and I felt like they were doing it just for us.

I lay on my stomach on the deck and reached through the gate, dipping my fingers in the warm water, disturbing the start that studded the black surface.

On the way back to the Inn we made a quick pit stop at their house for a potty break. We collected their Labrador retriever Trooper so the old girl could have a little ride with us. She’s 13 going on 50 - just like my Chester - and she leaned against my leg to keep her balance whenever the boat wobbled over gentle swells.

Val and Ted slid the pontoon boat into one of the slips at our Inn and delivered us safely to our doorstep. What a magical evening!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Still Crazy After All These Years

The first time I saw him, I had just completed a 1.5 hour bus and subway ride from Newmarket to my first day on the job as a camera salesperson in a retail shop in northern Toronto. I was 20 minutes early and sat in the quiet mall, reading my book. A young man arrived to unlock the sliding partition and disappeared behind the counter.

I got up and and peered through the slats of the partition until he re-emerged from the small rear office. "Excuse me, I'm starting here today," I announced.

He peered at me through his oversized glasses and I noticed his big-ass brown eyes. "Finally! They decided to hire somebody!" He let me in and showed me around. I knew my way around a camera store since I'd worked for the same company at another location. This was just a temporary assignment until my local store had an opening.

He was the assistant manager, and I quickly made friends with him and my other fellow workers. Within a couple of months, we were a tight group and a crack team in the store.

He had a girlfriend, but the relationship seemed a little rocky. Just before Christmas I was sorting lens filters in a drawer and casually asked one of the girls, "So... is he going to the company Christmas party with her?"

She said, "Oh, didn't you know? They broke up last week."

I grinned at the filters. "Oh... that's too bad."

During the company shindig, we started to talk about horses. I mentioned I liked to ride, and he said, "We should go trail riding sometime."

He mentioned a stable to the east of the city. We made arrangements to meet up at the bus stop (he didn't have a car) and went riding on a cold, clear day. It wasn't a date, just a couple of friends enjoying a winter activity.

It wasn't long before a blizzard moved in, and the guide led us back to the barn, slipping and sliding on ice patches covered with powdered snow. We went back to the bus stop and the wind and snow battered us. The stop lacked a shelter, so we stood withour backs to the wind and huddled for warmth until an old model car with pom-poms all around the windows rolled to a stop beside us. The kind man gave us a ride to the closest stop with a glass bus shelter.

Our second non-date was closing time on New Years Eve. I was scheduled to catch an overnight train to Cochrane, a town in northern Ontario to visit my sister and her husband. There was enough time to catch a bite before boarding the subway to Union Station, so we decided to grab some dinner before he went home to his parents' house.

Several restaurants in the area were already booked, but we found a table at a little pub on Yonge Street. We both noticed we mixed our peas with our potatoes and laughed. The waiter gave us free champagne and we toasted the arrival of 1982.

I paid for my portion and accepted a little peck on the cheek, then boarded the Yonge subway south while he hopped on the Bloor Street West train. Again, it wasn't a date.

We went out as a group with our co-workers to movies and dinners for the next few months. As springtime thawed the ice on the sidewalks, we gathered at a little restaurant with a second floor lined with bookshelves.

When the other couple left to visit the facilities, he leaned toward me and said, "This has been a long time coming," and he kissed me.

When he visited me in Newmarket, he had to take a city bus, then the subway and then a regional bus, then walk up my street. I often waited at the top of the hill and my heart gave a little jump when I saw his familiar silhouette.

We married in 1984. Our wedding was modest -- Dad provided the catering and I made my own multi-tiered banana wedding cake. It was ugly as Hell but delicious. We danced to Blue Danube and then enjoyed all the 80s dance tunes.

Along with the arrival of two children and lots of tears and laughter, we skidded through the years.

Today is our 25th Anniversary. As long as the laughter outnumbers the tears, we'll cruise together far into the future.

(I'd show you a picture but I can't find the damn photo album!)

Friday, 21 August 2009

From Star Fall to Tree Fall

My friends to the south have the sense to take proper precautions when active weather approaches. However, being a wide-eyed innocent when it comes to disasters, I react in a different manner.

When I arrived home from work yesterday afternoon I heard an ominous rumble to the west. Yup, another storm a'comin'.

We have several estimates out to have our eavestroughs replaced but in the meantime we have to batten down the hatches every time a thunderstorm approaches. My husband and I placed a sheet of plastic across the front of the house and made sure the fireplace was equipped with buckets. Since our Shop Vac is on the fritz, I didn't want to deal with a wet floor and wringing out towels and Sham Wows.

Sure, it burns calories but who needs that kind of exercise?

I parked myself near the living window to watch the rain and wind lashing the trees. I didn't have a good view of the sky (too many trees) but every flash and boom made me go, "Ohhh.. that was a good one!"

I had no idea things were serious until the Weather Channel started talking tornadoes. They're rare around these parts - maybe ten F2s per year, but yesterday there were about five funnel clouds or suspected tornadoes in one afternoon.

The first was northwest of here, in Durham. Several people were injured at a day camp, and one 11 year old boy was killed by flying debris.

A large cell went through Vaughan, southwest of my location. 600 homes were damaged, with about 60 deemed unsaveable. Minor injuries, but no deaths reported.

The same cell traveled east and curled north, just missing the centre of my town. A tornado touched down at a local riding academy east of here, where a show was in progress. Witnesses say trailers were overturned and a pony was lifted with all four feet off the ground. A young rider gripped her horse's lead while a section of arena roof tore away above their heads. Nobody was hurt at that location.

I love storms. The power of weather is awesome to me, and the photographer and writer in me wants to absorb every moment. In another life I would have been a storm chaser. I had to resist the urge to run outside to take pictures. If we were forced to hide in the basement, I had my little mini lappy all ready to record my moment-to-moment experience.

Once when we were kids, my sister stood in front of our picture window and shouted,
"I LOVE the lightning!" and a bolt struck the house across the
street with a giant fireball. The lights went out, everyone screamed, the dog ran under the couch and my grandmother missed the bathroom by about two feet and ended up in the hall closet.

When I was a teen, the trees in front of our house were small so we could see across the street. A lightning strike caused a phenomenon called "St. Elmo's Fire" - a ball of fire rolling across the ground.

Later, when my daughter was a baby, we were driving in the countryside when a massive cold front rolled in and caught us unprepared. We parked the car as close to a ditch as we could and hunkered down. Before the storm hit my husband and I brought out our cameras and captured images of a solid wall of blackness careening across the sky. This was before the digital era so all I have are some slides and negatives somewhere.

My daughter sat in her car seat in the shaking vehicle, her brown eyes wide. She was only a little nervous, probably because her mommy and daddy were so calm. I guess our fear of mortality hadn't set in yet. Even today she sits in her room during storms, ignoring the call to round up the cat and dog and hit the basement.

I saw a funnel cloud try to form while we watched from the observation deck of the CN Tower in Toronto. I've never really seen a tor
nado with my own eyes, but I dream about them all the time. I wonder what that means?

The house (and the fireplace and the basement) survived yesterday's onslaught. I had visions of our office being carried away overnight, but alas I had to report to work this morning. Sigh. We have one tree split in half by a wind shear last week, but it's safely tucked into the crook of another tree. We'll call the tree guy after the eavestroughs are done.

Our problems are miniscule compared to the many famil
ies in Vaughan and those who lost a little boy in Durham. My prayers go out to them.

When all is said and done, I'm rather thankful we live in a section of town where nothing ever happens - except, of course, for the

In the meantime we plan to take advantage of a rare weekend of sun and hit the beach. Unless, of course, there's a storm.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Star Fall

Last night I wrapped a blanket around me (to keep the mosquitos at bay) and ventured out to my backyard to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower. Trees surround my yard so I had to position my patio chair in the middle to get the most coverage. By the time I was settled, my quilt was dripping wet from the dewy grass.

I didn't realize how quiet a town can be at midnight. We're a sizable community, but all I heard was the distant hum of traffic from the 404. A single cricket chirped off and on. I thought there would be more crickets in August but it's been damp and cool most of the summer.
I also heard the sleepy peep of a bird in the next yard.

Although the sky was clear, dew fell, each drop hitting the leaves of the trumpet vines on the back of the house like soft, intermittent rain. I guess I'm not as deaf as I thought I was. It's odd to be surrounded by a kind of silence you can actually hear.

I tucked my head into the quilt and felt the cool night air on my nose. I stared at the sky and could swear it was visibly rotating. You know how you stare at something long enough, it seems like it's moving?

A few things did move. A satellite drifted past, like a star that had broken away from the pack to seek its own fortune.

After a half hour of patience, I was rewarded by one meteor that passed over the house in a long streak. No multicoloured tail like the websites promised, but it was enough to make a wish.

Then the mosquitos located me and I retreated into the house.

Maybe tonight I'll try to add to my wish collection.

Monday, 3 August 2009


Thirteen years ago his mom, a Siberian husky, backed up to a snowbank to accommodate his dad, a Shetland sheepdog.

That's what the owner told us when we went to Mount Albert to pick out a puppy.

Seven of them romped around in an enclosed dog run. Some resembled mini-collies, and others looked like grey-furred huskys with blue eyes. We'd Googled "How to pick the perfect puppy" and tried all the tricks:

1) Call the pup. If it comes to you and follows you, it gets points.
2) Pick up the pup and turn it on its back. If it struggles briefly, then settles, it gets points. If it freaks out, no dice.

3) Stroke the pup from nose to tail. If it tries to reach back and bite you, it loses points.

There were more, but I can't remember. Two pups were in the lead. They looked the same - sable tri-colour markings - except the female had a broad strip down her nose and one blue eye. She lost the contest because she was a little nippy (bitchy). We chose the male.

During the drive home, the kids listened while Mark and I discussed names. We went through a list of my former pets - Sabado (Saturday in Spanish) Quasanche (Little Girl in Ojibway) Gidgimidge (Asshole in Mik'Maq), Tippy (well, you know, tippy). Can you tell I'm into languages?

My husband's past name choices were simpler: Morris the cat, Chloe the sausage dog, Chester the other cat, Chester the cockatiel, and Simon and Garfunkle the budgies. And he's the one with English as a second language. Go figure.

While cuddling the puppy in the back seat, my four year old son picked up on the name Chester and declared that should be the puppy's name. And so it was.

Chester passed more tests - housetraining, sit, stay, speak etc. There was one bad habit we couldn't break. He was an excellent escape artist, and when he got loose he ran. He ran and ran. It must have been the sled dog in him because we couldn't get him to stop. Several times, neighbours called to tell us our dog was in their backyard playing with their kids.

During one chase I drove around the neighbourhood in the dark and caught the white tip of his tail waving in my headlights. By that time he was exhausted and glad to get a free ride home. Another time my son (by then about ten years old) chased him for blocks and lost a shoe in the snow. He didn't take time to stop and kept running through the slush until he caught up with the little bugger. We never recovered the shoe.

I posted a while back about Chester's aversion to loud noises. Lately, it seems his hearing is suffering. When a storm brews, the cat hides behind the furnace but Chester keeps snoozing. This was a welcome relief during the last fireworks display at the end of the street. At least my rugs are now safe from panic pee.

I ask him if he wants to go out, but doesn't respond until I point at the back door. Hand signals I'd taught him years ago are now alternative forms of communication.

He gets up slower and walks bowlegged. I taped squares of carpeting to the hardwood stairs so he could make it to the main floor of our raised bungalow without stumbling. His butt is disappearing. If he was human, he'd look like one of those guys who yells at kids to get off his lawn. He sleeps most of the day and paces around like a Nervous Nelly most of the evening.
He's starting to smell like an old couch.

I know he's getting older, and the inevitable scenario approaches, but like Scarlett O'Hara I don't want to think about that right now. His vet says he's healthy considering his age. My daughter, however, worries about every wart and lump and nosebleed.

I always took the logical approach when dealing with pet loss, offering condolences when needed and looking back with affection at the lives of various beloved companions. I took my neigbour's dog for her final journey to the vet when he couldn't. It was a sad event, stroking Gypsy's ears when the life left her eyes, but I didn't cry.
She was no longer suffering. She was going to a better place.

When a co-worker recently chose to euthanize her dog due to age and disease, I gave her a hug and wondered why they'd taken so long to make their decision. The dog had seizures, couldn't stand on her own, didn't eat, etc. They had made repeated visits to the vet with no diagnosis for her various symptoms that had taken away her quality of life.

A couple of weeks ago, I watched Marley and Me against my own advice. I teared up more at Jennifer Aniston's post-natal depression than Marley's decline. I wondered if something was wrong with me. Am I some kind of emotionless bitch?

Yesterday I looked at Chester and called him over to me. He stiffly sauntered close and I stroked his smooth forehead like I always do. The fur on his forehead is so soft unlike the mass of unruly fur that only leaves his body to infest every corner of the house.
He closed his eyes and sighed with apparent contentment.

I started to cry.

Pictures: My daughter took these while Chester slept through a yard sale.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Real Canadian Stupid Store

We're more than halfway through our brief, shining Canadian Summer and I haven't broken a sweat. At least, not a real sweat (hot flashes don't count). We've barely crept above room temperature and almost every day has been blessed (I use that term loosely) with rain.

The air is thick with humidity and everything is sticky, from doorknobs to the hardwood floors. The front door won't open unless I put a shoulder to it. This morning during a downpour I mopped up another mess in the basement and changed the water bucket in the fireplace. We have to get the eavestroughs and downspouts replaced, but Handsome But Not Handy Husband hasn't started calling around for estimates yet. I silently scream at every raindrop.

Later, the skies cleared long enough for a quick foray to the local super grocery store for emergency supplies: toilet paper, bread, Aleve, wine and Twizzlers. My daughter and I threw on our jackets (yes, it's that warm) and hopped into the car.

In the bread aisle, a lady inspected the Wonder Bread Plus Whole Wheat. I didn't want to get my shopping cart in her way, so I waited patiently. Instead of grabbing a loaf and moving along, she checked each expiry tab, throwing loaves back in disgust. She took one, moved as if she was about to leave, then backed up and started the process all over again with the white bread.

We decided to call her Angry Bread Lady. She stopped every time I wanted to stop, reading labels and throwing items into her cart, glaring at each item as if daring them to escape.

In the freezer aisle, another woman held an impossibly tiny infant in the crook of one arm while sorting through frozen waffles. The baby fretted while the woman shifted it awkwardly. If she'd forgotten her stroller, why didn't she use one of those handy carts with a bucket baby seat? The image of a baby hitting the hard floor flashed before my eyes, and I winced.

Of course we bought more than necessary. That's what happens when you cart along a kid who had skipped lunch. Yeah, she's twenty, but she's still my kid. She gasped in wonder at every ice cream carton and raspberry tart like a puppy distracted by a squirrel. I powered through, only allowing a chocolate bar and a bottle of Orange Crush. After all, it was my money, right?

The young lad at the checkout reminded me of the Target Lady on Saturday Night Live. He and a co-worker launched into a lively discussion about the merits of Taco Bites, and he inspected my DVD of Love Actually as if he'd never seen it before. I fully expected him to drop everything and dash to the Electronics department for a copy of his own.

I'm home now, waiting for my daughter to wander off to her room so I can watch Love Actually and eat a Twizzler or ten.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Video Killed The Radio Star

Everything is getting smaller except my waistline.

Hi-Fi sets became transistor radios, then Walkmen, and finally MP3 players no bigger than your thumb. Computers once took up an entire floor, and now you can check your email and work on your manuscript on a teensy weensie laptop.

Big, clunky mobile phones became sleek cell phones. A guy even
wrote a novel on a cell phone!

Heck, our laundry detergent is getting smaller! 65 loads per ounce!

It didn't take long for networking to follow suit. First, we passed out newsletters at meetings and left them in foyers. We attended meetings in person, and talked to our friends on the phone. Now we combine several internet social networks in order to get our messages out.

When I started writing, I joined Blogger and got a shiny little website. Later, I joined several Yahoo groups to pimp my books. Facebook soon followed and I reconnected with old family members and school chums.
Then all those book reader sites cropped up and I dutifully posted book covers and attempted to keep up with ravenous readers everywhere.

When Twitter came along, I rolled my eyes.

"I don't need another beak to feed."

"Only 140 characters to get your thoughts across? Pffff! What's up with that?"

"I'm wasting enough writing time already."

One Saturday night during a weak moment (and after a vat of wine), I gave in. I became a Twit.

Every half hour, I check to see what the latest hot celebrity is having for a snack. My faltering ego crawls up a notch when a bestselling author or a dream agent decides to follow me. Oh, the pressure!

Which brings me to the title of my post. Is Twitter killing blogs? I'd noticed a drop in visits here and wonder if it's just a summer lull. Or are buddies reading tweets instead?

I have to admit it's fun, but I gotta rope myself in. I need to finish one of my two works in progress. I struggle getting past 40K in a novel, but tweets seem to curtail the real messages. Does a 140 character statement really bring across a message?
Along with the fun of spying on movie stars and Martha Stewart, I suppose I could use Twitter to post links to this blog (whenever I get around to an update).

'Scuse me while I Tweet this Post. Gah.