Sunday, January 29, 2006

During the first snowstorm (there's another one on the way!). Note the satellite dish - when it gets covered in snow we lose our Internet connection. There's a special low tech broom by the back door specifially for brushing off snow accumulation...  Posted by Picasa
Wish I'd brought a better camera! My little old digital just doesn't do the light, shadows, or texture of the snow justice. I'd forgotten just how special it is to go for a walk in winter... Posted by Picasa
Source of the delicious water here at SNP Posted by Picasa
Winlaw - the day before the big snowfall Posted by Picasa
Walk on a winter's day... Posted by Picasa
Gussy Buster Boy Posted by Picasa
One of the joys of visiting SNP in Winlaw is ease of access to animals. Here's Mr. Handsome - Gus, the part wolf, part German Shepherd, part lapdog... At the moment, Ophelia (fluffy orange kitty cat) keeps threatening to dance over the keyboard of my laptop... All these animals certainly make it easier to be away from home.

Friday, January 27, 2006

All was well, of course - we did arrive just fine, though it was a bit like descending into a tub of thick soup when we dropped out of the sky and plunged through the thick clouds. I hate to think how bad the visibility must be when they make the decision to cancel!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The note on the departure board at the Vancouver airport is a little unnerving - beside my flight and destination information is the abbreviation 'WTR ADV.' I wonder what this means, if the flight has been delayed, or cancelled. I am, after all, heading for 'Cancel-gar'.

"What does Weather Advisory mean?" I ask at the counter.

The woman behind the desk gives a patient shrug. "Conditions in Castlegar are fair. So we don't know whether you'll be able to land."

"So the flight's been delayed?"

"Oh, no - they'll fly out there and see how it goes. If they can't get in, they'll turn around a come back."

I raise my eyebrows at this. Surely the airline has a phone? Is anyone at home in Castlegar? Can they look outside and see what the weather is like? Or does landing (or not landing) depend on the skill or temperament of the pilot? Or will a vote be taken among the passengers as we circle above the bowl of a valley in which the Castlegar airport lies? I wonder what the pilot will be able to see from above that will tell him whether or not a landing attempt would be wise. What if he's fed up and doesn't feel like flying back and forth and decides to risk a landing? What if he has a lady friend waiting at the other end? Or prostate trouble and really needs to use the loo? This is a small plane (propellors!) - who will fly the plane should the captain feel the need? And say we have to abort the trip, turn around, come back to Vancouver... do we sit around in the airport waiting for the weather to change from FAIR to SLIGHTLY-BETTER-THAN-FAIR?

All this seems a bit analog to me.

"Don't worry, dear," the woman at the counter says. "The other flights today all had advisories. They all made it in okay."

So, fingers crossed, I board with the other passengers, I stow my horse magazines, digital camera, coat, computer, etc. and settle in for the duration, however long that might be.

Monday, January 23, 2006

- truck to Cunningham's (exhaust pipes dropped out while travelling at speed on the Pat Bay Highway)
- ship books to three schools in Duncan
- confirm Desiree will be able to come and help Dad with the horses while I'm away
- worm the horses
- all the normal barn chores
- complete Canada Council form for readings done in Duncan/Chemainus
- interview Karen's mother
- follow-up on school booking query (been playing phone tag with the principal for a week)
- clean Dad's car (trunk currently filled with hay debris - see point one above)
- back-up hard drive to external drive to be taken to Winlaw
- bring more hay up from storage barn down the road (by hand, two bales at a time, on a push cart)
- send an update email to all the folks in Iceland who are waiting for copies of the TV show on tape
- call farrier to change date of appointment
- laundry
- water plants
- pack
- continue to edit the travel piece about getting lost in the Lake District
- pull all files relating to GOOD NEIGHBOURS (adult novel)
- and so on...
Sigh. There's more, of course, but I have to get at least this much done before I leave tomorrow.
Meanwhile, stayed up too late last night reading Crazy Man by Pamela Porter.
Really, really good. Berdina at Cadboro Bay Books said Porter's writing reminded her a bit of Sharon Creech - it's a good comparison. Couldn't put it down. I often don't agree with the Canada Council prize winners, but in this case, yeah - they got it right. In February Porter will speak at the Victoria Children's Literature Roundtable on a Newcomer's Panel, so named because the authors are relatively unknown to members of our group. In fact, Porter is not really new to the writing world, more like recently discovered in a big way. I have to see if I have a copy of her first book, Sky somewhere in my library. The cover looks vaguely familiar... so, there we go - another thing to do today, find a copy of Sky that I may not even own. That should be good for a healthy stretch of procrastinating at some point...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What am I listening to?

Thanks to my brother, Pete (who, for years, has been trying to expand my listening beyond John Denver and Joni Mitchell) I now own an ipod. So, yes, I too walk around with those white ear buds and wires protruding from my ears. Not only was that a fabulous Christmas present, I also received a pre-charged itunes account (now is this guy a great brother, or what?). So, I've been music shopping, catching up on two or three decades of music. Sorry Joni- though you have been dutifully copied into my ipod, Ladies of the Canyon is low on the rotation list... Ah, bliss - music in my ears while I do the laundry.
What am I reading?

And how is it? Fabulous. This is one I've had on my shelf for ages and ages but for some reason, haven't read it before now. Thoroughly enjoying the humour, the magic, the plot twists and turns, the hopeless/hapless (but determined) hero and his lovely djinni, the inimitable Bartimaeus. Jonathan Stroud is moving up my list of favourite authors of quality fantasy for young readers (along with Garth Nix and Philip Pullman).

Monday, January 16, 2006

After 27 days of rain, we were going for the record (32 days, set in the 50's...). Then, the weather gods decided to give us a 26 hour break! So, now it's pouring and windy and miserable again (and forecast is for it to stay that way for a bit) but we don't get the pleasure of at least being able to set the record for most consecutive days with rain. How is this fair?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Strange reflections in a flooded field.... Posted by Picasa
After coming close to breaking the record for most ever consecutive days of rain, Dad and I rushed out yesterday to take advantage of several hours of sunshine. We've been hoping to take some photos and yesterday we decided to go off in search of wildlife. We pulled out of the driveway and, voila, this little fellow was sitting in the middle of the road. All I had to do was roll down the window, point and shoot! We did wind up slogging through waterlogged fields to try and photograph Trumpeter swans and mallards. Then, we drove down to Dallas Road, took some photos at the Chinese Cemetery, and nearly perished from hypothermia being blown around in the wind. In the end, this photograph, snapped three seconds into our expedition, turned out to be one of the best of the whole day! Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 13, 2006

This is the vehicle I plan to use to get to the Victorian Tea in June. By then, little Emma won't look like such a fuzzy ball. This photo was taken during an outing in December - the driver (in the middle) is my neice, Aly. Posted by Picasa
Humming along, happily busy. A good feeling! I'm actually making progress on my pages of To-Do's. I'm not exaggerating - the current list is three and a half pages long. In my endless quest to get better organized, I decided that I needed a comprehensive master list to keep me on track in life. I even have coordinated Excel spreadsheets with lists of tasks and progress being made on each.

One of the projects is at last well under way. Ever since returning from Iceland I've been meaning to put up some sort of blog for the TV Show (Around the World on Horseback). The basic structure is now there (with photos). Still on the To-Do list is adding more text detail and links.

I've started the research for a new book (a biography of Paralympian, Karen Brain). Details of how all this is proceeding (and photos) can be found on the Diary of a Children's Author and Publisher blog. (Blogs, blogs everywhere!)

Next week will be busy - the Victoria Children's Literature Roundtable is hosting mystery novelist Melanie Jackson. Since I'm the Chair, I have to a) attend the meeting and b) remember Melanie's name when I introduce her. We are also busily planning our 25th Anniversary bash - A Silver Jubilee Victorian Tea to be held June 4th.

After that, off to Book Splash up-island to give several school presentations on Tuesday and Wednesday and then, on Friday, two performances of Sir Gawain for the Bayside School Reading Week. Then, I'll be packing in earnest for my week-long writing retreat in the Kootenays.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

There are two things one can be certain of when it's Christmas and there are tons of relatives around...

1. It isn't long before the older members of the family need naps.

2. As soon as said older members nod off, the younger ones appear with their cameras. Posted by Picasa