Friday, September 26, 2008

The Pin Cushion Plant

On Wednesday I went to the launch of Cleavage, the anthology where my first published fiction appears. In addition to the other esteemed authors and their guests, my mother, brother, and sister-in-law were in attendance, as well as my darling husband, and show-stealing son. William has a talent for getting groups of random people (some relations but mostly strangers) to entertain him with food, books and toys. There were mocktails, pizza, and cupcakes and everyone was schmoozing, and asking me and the other authors for our autographs. We were rockstars.

Near the end of the night all the authors that could make it read from their stories (the rest live out of province and couldn't attend). Miraculously, I did not stumble over my words, and people actually laughed at the funny bits.

As a thank you present and souvenir we (the authors) were each given a teeny tiny plant. I was told that this was a pin cushion plant and not to put it in direct sunlight and to water it from the bottom. Clearly, I am not the only one who considers herself more of a word person than a plant person, as I caught more than one of my colleagues eyeing their gift incredulously.

Today I looked up my doomed plant and found its wikipedia page. Apparently there are lots of plants called pin cushion. Mine is a nertera granadensis and, indeed, one should water it from the bottom and keep it out of direct sunlight. I also learned that it is a tropical plant, that would not survive a winter outdoors.

Also the wiki page says "Nertera granadensis is somewhat difficult to maintain, and it is not recommended for beginners." Luckily, I am no beginner. I have killed many many plants.

BTW: Now that I am a serious professional, my talented husband designed me a new serious professional website.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

William's words

William has learned quite a few words and I feel the need to record them for posterity.

Ball ("Bah"): this was William's first word after Mama and Dada and lead to a mild obsession with all things round. He also refers to plums as "Bah" and can often be seen hanging off the the fridge door handle whining "Bah!" "Bah!"

Car ("Cah!"): William has more than a mild obsession with cars. He owns a growing collection of matchbox cars, dollarstore plastic cars, ride-it toys, and various things with steering wheels. He also points to every vehicle that passes by and says "Cah!" This means that on some car trips, William can be heard from the backseat, babbling, "Cah, cah, cah, oh boo cah! Cah, cah, cah."

Dog ("Gah!"): Why is a dog pronounced "gah"? Not sure. But he consistently refers to all dogs (and occasionally other animals) as "gah". He loves dogs, and has no fear of hugging the biggest and scariest-looking ones. Of course I always ask the owner if it's okay first. He gets knocked down frequently, but that doesn't deter him. (Although he sometimes gets fed up with the incessant licking of my parents' jackapoo.)

Cracker ("CahCah"): Similar to the word car, but you take it in context. If William is pointing to the snacks on top of the fridge, he wants a cracker. If he's pointing out the window, or is playing with a Tonka Truck, he's saying car.

Apple ("A-bah"): This is an evolution of the word ball, and can mean any sort of round fruit, including apples, pears, plum, nectarines and peaches. His love of all things fruit may be responsible for his interesting bowel movements, but fruit is good for you so I just deal with the mess.

Up: He says up very clearly. Mostly this means he wants to be picked up and is accompanied by the gesture of reaching his hands in the air. Sometimes though, he uses up to refer to any direction he wants me to follow him. For example, he says "up" and then points downstairs.

Rock ("Guck"): If you live in our neighbourhood, and have a rock garden or a gravel driveway, you may have noticed it is occasionally in disarray, almost as if a toddler has been playing in it. When we go on walks together, William always stops to rearrange any rocks he finds.

More ("Noo-noo"): He uses the sign for more (the only bit of sign language he ever picked up) and always says "noo-noo" at the same time. The sign doesn't just mean that he wants more of something he already has, but is also used to ask for anything and everything.

Yes: Mostly William nods his head for yes and shakes it for no, but if you ask him to say yes, he can say it quite clearly. This is useful because he often does this goofy half-nod, half-head shake, which I guess means maybe. You then ask "Yes?" and he nods and says "yesss".

That's all I can think of right now, but I think I got most of them. Hardly an extensive vocabulary, but Mr. William still prefers the whining and pointing method to get most of what he wants.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cleavage has arrived!

I've always thought of myself as a fiction writer, but strangely I've never had any of my fiction published. Unless of course you count that story that got printed in a kids magazine when I was eleven, or the time my husband paid to have one copy of my book published. But now, I have a real short story published in a real anthology: Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls. So now I'm a genuine fiction author.

If you buy the book, or just flip through it in the book store, you can find my story ("My So Not Ballerina Boobs") on page 133. It isn't so much a "story" as it is an account of all the times I went bra-shopping with my mother rolled into one embarrassing excursion. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. "I hope I'm not as loud as the mother in your story," Mom said. Of course not, Mommy, I exaggerated in the name of fiction.

If anyone lives in the Toronto area (and actually cares), there will be a book launch on September 24th, from 5:30pm to 8:30 pm at the Canadian Children's Book Centre (Suite 101, 40 Orchard View Blvd, Toronto -- Yonge & Eglinton).

Now I'd better go read all the other stories quick before the boss wakes up from his nap.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Our Weekend In Photos

Having enjoyed many a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese's in my youth, I thought it an odd place to stop for dinner on a long car trip. But it was genius! William ran around and enjoyed rides and slides and games, and then konked out in the car right afterwards. And look, one of the rides printed out a momento for us.

Here we our standing in front of a wall in our nation's capital, Ottawa. We were there to visit with Adam's best friend Chris and his girlfriend Lisa. Also to sight-see.

I think that the prime minister secretly takes orders from this cat. There are a bunch of cats living on the grounds of parliament in a little house. I didn't notice it at the time, but the cat appears to have a hideous boil on his face, which I think makes him look more like a polititian.

There's Adam and William and Chris and the centenial flame. I thought this was an eternal flame, but according to Wikipedia, they extinguish it every year for cleaning. What a let-down. Anyway don't the parliament buildings look nice in the background?

Here I am chasing William on the parliamentary grounds.

A bird that's been dead a while, also on paliamentary grounds.

Here's our tour guide showing us the house of commons, where all the political magic happens.

Later that evening, we went to a family barbecue at the home of some of Chris and Lisa's friends. You know these people are cool because they have a rocketship.

And their son can ride a unicycle!

Then on Sunday, it was down in the trenches for us at the war museum. For some reason, this replica of the trenches, complete with dim lighting and scary machine gun sounds, was William's favourite part of the museum. He kept signing "more", asking to go back in.

"Mommy it's scary in here, but I love it!"

William was really interested in the tanks when we viewed them from the top floor, but once we went down to that level he lost interest. Of course, this could be because I put him back in his stroller so he couldn't run around touching everything.
Luckily we made it home to Burlington for the last day of ribfest, which we've missed every year for at least three years in a row.
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