Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Errr... Dani, what the heck are you doing up there? Dad took this photo of Dani during a vaulting workshop up in Parksville on the weekend. Dani has finally found her dream sport - imagine being able to combine gymnastics and horses in the same activity! She's only been vaulting for just a little over a month, but already there are plans afoot to compete in the provincial championships this fall. The horse won't be standing still, either - Dani has plans to compete in the canter division! (just what a mother wants to hear... note there are no helmets to be seen in this crazy activity!) Given Dani's obsession with throwing herself through the air, twisting and twirling as she goes, I have little doubt that she will actually accomplish her goal! Posted by Picasa
Remember when I mentioned the pot-bellied pig soon to become the newest member of the menagerie? Well, here's Mike Harcourt (Mikey for short)! He's been living behind an empty house for the past six years where various people popped by each day to feed him. To excess. His wee arthritic legs have trouble supporting all his weight so, with the guidance of some pig rehab experts, Mikey is on a diet. Posted by Picasa
Yes, piggies are hefty creatures, but a well-proportioned porker (hmm... that's probably a rude word in pet pig circles) should be able to get around quite nicely under his own steam. It's pretty clear from this photo that Mikey's little legs just aren't designed to go jogging with that body! Posted by Picasa
Mikey in his favourite position - reclining. One of several very good suggestions from the pig experts was to get Mikey up and moving, even a little bit. Everyone knows activity is a key component to any fitness regime! Well, have you ever tried to convince a reluctant pig to get up and go for a stroll? Do you have any idea how LOUD they are when unhappy? I do, and so do all the neighbours! And, Mikey is unhappy when he is doing anything else but sleeping. The only thing that has actually inspired Mikey to stand is a full bladder and the temptation of a bit of watermelon. Actually taking a step or two? Forget it. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

And on a lighter note... here I am winning a costume class at the fun horse show at Bodicea Farms. I really shouldn't have won with 'Hagrid's Secret' (Molly in her baby dragon costume) because she is certainly not a horse, but I think the judge felt sorry for us melting in the sun in our very hot outfits. Posted by Picasa
Look at this guy go! This is one of dozens of photos taken at the local harness racing track in Sidney, just north of Victoria (Sandown Raceway). This is a pacer (both legs on the same side of the body move at the same time, as opposed to a trotter when diagonal legs move together). I'm flipping back and forth between the track book and the Karen biography these days. The first draft of the racetrack book is nearly done, so at the moment I'm going through hundreds of photos, looking for cover possibilities as well as the last images to include in the interior of the book. Several adopters of ex-racehorses have sent me their stories and once I've written those up, the manuscript will go off to the editor, Ann Featherstone. I've known Ann for years and am totally delighted that finally, finally we will get to work together on a book.  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Lest you think life is just one happy horseback ride after another, rest assured that plenty of progress is being made on actual work projects. But a photo of my messy desk just doesn't compare to a horse on a beach! A quick update on what's going on around here...

The month of June began with a bang with the Victoria Children's Literature 25th Anniversary Silver Jubilee Tea, a rather elegant affair featuring 25 children's authors and illustrators gathering at a local historical landmark, Point Ellice House.

Many of the authors came dressed in period costume (as did many of the audience members!). Penny Chamberlain (author of The Olden Days Locket and Chasing the Moon) was the picture of elegance in her black ensemble.

Dr. Ron Jobe (our Master of Ceremonies and the father of Roundtables in Canada) was dapper in top hat and cape. And I was very... pink. To be truthful, I felt a bit like a cupcake in my glossy dress!

Susan Musgrave was our featured speaker and she, in turn, introduced our many guest authors and their newest books. The guest list included Kit Pearson, Polly Horvath, Sarah Ellis, John Wilson, Sylvia Olsen, Lyn Hancock, Pamela Porter, Sheryl McFarlane, Storma Sire, Dan Bar-el, Kristin Butcher, Diane Leger, Diane Haynes, Sarah Harvey, Jeff Rud, Jacquie Pearce, Colin Williams, Dayle Gaetz, Julie Lawson, Troy Wilson, and Laura Langston - a testament to how many of Canada's finest writers for children find themselves living on the west coast. A good time (and better food!) was had by all.

This event was just the start to an exceptionally busy month. Sylvia Olsen, Penny Chamberlain, Diane Morriss and I enjoyed another fine Sono Nis author dinner at the Med Grill restaurant - excellent conversation and tasty, tasty food! The Roundtable steering committee met for the final time this year- congratulations to Sheryl McFarlane who returns to the helm as Chair (I'm moving over to the position of newsletter editor). Wearing my 'SNP Publicist' hat, started work organizing the amazing launch of Yetsa's Sweater (Sylvia Olsen's new book) and Chasing the Moon (Penny Chamberlain) to be held at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney, BC. Said launch will last almost a full week and involve sessions both for the general public and for students from half a dozen area schools. More on this in a future post - it should be a really cool event!

A trip to the local track (Sandown Racetrack) produced a number of photographs that will be included in Behind the Scenes at the Racetrack.

And speaking of BTSAT Racetrack, the first (rough) draft was in Toronto on the editor's desk by June 22nd - a miraculous delivery THREE WEEKS EARLY!! That never happens, trust me.

My research assistant finished scanning the last of the Karen Brain photographs and obtained permission to use various unusual photos for the racetrack book. I reviewed several books for the Canadian Book Review Annual and wrote my column for Island Parent Magazine. In my spare time, I picked up 40 bales of hay out of my neighbour's field, loaded them into the truck, and then unloaded and stacked them in the hay barn. Also in June, a quick trip to Vancouver for the Chocolate Lily Book Awards (the winner in the picture book category was Drumheller Dinosaur Dance by Robert Heidbreder). I was delighted to find out that Trouble on Tarragon Island is a 2006-2007 nominee in the novel category, which keeps my streak of nominations intact: I've had at least one book nominated each year since the awards began four or five years ago!

Show season is under way and this means lots of chances to add to the collection of equestrian-themed photographs.

Father's Day did not pass un-celebrated. We hauled Dad, cane, broken hip and all, up to a winery in Cobble Hill for a delicious luncheon in a garden. The ambience included live music, a lovely old dog, and a puppy - and the meal included samples of half a dozen wines. Fantastic food and a great setting combined with a tour of the winery (more samples) made for a wonderful outing.

Dani and I also enjoyed a jumping lesson on Bonny and several more trail rides in June, all with an eye to taking part in several horse shows over the summer (first one is next weekend!!!!). We did squeeze in a fun horse show at Bodicea Farm - a good old-fashioned play day like those I remember from my childhood. Who knew that Bonny would be such a good pole-bending, barrel-racing, keyholing horse? We came home clutching a fistful of ribbons, a new halter and lead rope, and a collection of anti-bacterial horse care products.

Goals for the coming month include finishing the first draft of Double Take: The Olympic Dreams of Karen Brain (sub-title not finalized!), a trip to Hastings Park to fill a few photographic gaps in the track book, and getting a good chunk of the next Behind the Scenes book (with a Horse Vet) finished. And then, there's the pig pen. By the end of the day, we should be pretty well done construction on the new digs for Mikey, a rather rotund pot-bellied pig we are about to adopt from one of the neighbours. More on THAT project in a future post.