Friday, February 29, 2008

Desperately Seeking Signs of Spring

This winter I've seen far too much of this:

So it was almost like this unknown thing had appeared in the sky yesterday, and the day before, when it was actually sunny for a change. But just to make sure I wasn't going to get all completely happy or anything it was also cold as ...well, you know.

Seems I wasn't the only creature seeking sunshine. I noticed quite a few tracks to tell me that other animals had been about.

Here is the sign of the rabbit:

Note that it is beside the track of the automobilus domesticus of the Honda family, species "Odyssey". And, below, the rabbit is perhaps late, late, late for a very important date.

Triple tracks below! The right hand track is the domestic feline "Marshmallow" while the left track is perhaps a fox, and the track crossing horizontally is a small rodent, I think.

And then I got all happy when I saw signs that the beavers had been out. Perhaps they'd been sunning themselves on top of their lodge whilst I was out forraging at the supermarket.

See their trails up to and on top of that bump? It's a snow covered lodge, trust me. And then it looks like they went on some sort of frolick!?!? Check out this trail:

Wish I could've seen what made them do this:

Or maybe it wasn't the beavers at all. Maybe it's like those crop circles...we were visited by aliens and it's, like, a message:
(Translation: "We. Were. Here. Nah. Nyah. Nah. Nah. Nah. Nah.")

Obviously you can see what lack of sunlight can do to a person. ZA!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ship Sighting

This past weekend I found myself in Owen Sound. (Minor hockey. 'nuff said.) Historically the city was quite the important shipping hub since it's on Georgian Bay in Lake Huron. I got all excited when I saw this ship at the warf.

It was huge. The size is difficult to convey in a photo.

It was getting dark so the light isn't great. I zoomed in a little which made for a slightly better pic.

Then I felt the need to get all artistic. I call this next one "Massive Transportation Device as seen from Personal Transportation Device."

Okay, so it could use some work on a lot of levels.

Too bad I didn't have the courage to photograph the guy just to the left of my vehicle here, the guy who attempted to drive up the driveway to the ship and got stuck. (Yeah, what driveway? There was a path through the snow, not visible to the human eye in this photo, up to the ship. Apparently someone had used it, but I wasn't gonna try.). So anyway, this man got stuck at the very start of this supposed path and was gunning his engine and spinning his wheels as I took this shot. Ahh, the sound of Canada in the winter.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cybils Award Winners Announced

Today’s the day the Cybils Award winners were announced. Congratulations to all the winners!

In the nonfiction picture book category, where my book was shortlisted, Lightship written and illustrated by Brian Floca, published by Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books was the winner. Congratulations! It is an honor to be on the shortlist with this excellent book.

Check out the full list of winners here on the Cybils blog.

Happy Valentine's Day! And while you're celebrating, why not read a book to someone you love? There's nothing like the gift of a love of reading.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Mega-Book Launch

It was a great opportunity to launch my book with other talented authors and illustrators at the Cancaip Mega-Book Launch at the OLA Superconference on Friday February 1st. Check out all the terrific book creators (in alphabetical order) with whom I shared the podium:

James Bow
Fathom Five, Dundurn Press

Veronika Martenova Charles
Don't Walk Alone At Night!, Tundra Books
Don't Go In There!, Tundra Books

Marina Cohen
Shadow of the Moon, Vanwell Publishing

Lois Donovan
Winds of L'Acadie, Ronsdale Press Inc.

Rachna Gilmore
Making Grizzle Grow, Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Holly Tsun Haggarty
Summer Dragons, Napoleon Publishing

Emily Hearn
Our New Home, Second Story Press

Ben Hodson
Jeffrey and Sloth, Orca Book Publishers

Jennifer Lanthier
The Mystery of the Martello Tower: A Hazel Frump Adventure, HarperCollins Canada

Peggy Leavey
Treasure at Turtle Lake, Napoleon Publishing

Loris Lesynski
Shoe Shakes: Poems for Preschoolers, Annick Press

Elizabeth MacLeod
Alexander Graham Bell, Kids Can Press
Helen Keller, Kids Can Press
George Washington Carver: An Innovative Life, Kids Can Press

Sylvia McNicoll
Last Chance for Paris, Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Beth Pollock
Harley's Gift, James Lorimer and Company

Virginia Frances Schwartz
4 Kids in 5E & 1 Crazy Year, Scholastic Canada

Marsha Skrypuch
Prisoners in the Promised Land: The Ukrainian Internment Diary of Anya Soloniuk, Spirit Lake Quebec, 1914, Scholastic Canada

Patricia Storms
13 Ghosts of Halloween, Scholastic Canada

So get prepared: there's your March Break reading list if I ever saw one!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Country Gal Hits the Big City

Woohoo! I was off to Toronto for the OLA Superconference to do the Mega-Book Launch with CANSCAIP. Now I'm just a country*** gal so going to the big city in the WINTER is a big deal. I exercised my transportation options. Here's how the journey went:

1. Walked to my car. Drove to the bus stop (hey, it's about 26 km so I wasn't walking!).

2. Hopped on the Ontario Northland bus. It was a smooth and entirely uneventful trip.

3. Disembarked at the terminal, walked to the TTC enduring the stares of fashionably footed ladies at my functional and admittedly clunky winter footwear.

4. Got on the TTC subway and, after much jostling, got off at the right stop, recovered from momentary disorientation back at street level, backtracked after walking in the wrong direction, and

5. Reached Destination! Phew!

Now the trip back was somewhat more entertaining due both to the weather (snow storm) and to those sharing the bus with me. So the trip looked like this:

1. Slogged through more slush on Toronto streets than any human should ever have to experience in their entire life. I don't know if my pant cuffs will ever recover. Oh yeah, and don't discount the heart-stopping excitement of having a ball of slush flung by highspeed winds off a building narrowly miss your head. But no one questioned my unfashionable and clunky choice of footwear there!

2. Waited at bus terminal and watched the pigeons stroll under the seats and between feet. Admired the "Do NOT feed the pigeons" sign. Concluded it does little good.

3. Hauled bags to the bus lineup, gave sympathetic look to those still waiting for bus to London to show up as I skipped to front of the line with others headed north. Got on the Grey Hound.

4. Selected comfortable seat. Bus ride was underway when the unmistakable Fetid Aroma of Rectal Turbulence engulfed me from behind. I am surprised I am alive to write this. WHY do people do that??? Said stench occured at regular intervals for the first hour of the trip (and you're asking yourself why didn't I just get up and relocate myself but, well, the answer to that would probably get into the psychology of being raised to be a nice, polite little girl so we won't go there). At stopover the offending individual disembarked and I silently rejoiced. But darnit if he didn't get back on and sit right back down before the bus took off again. So I waited...and waited...and waited to be accosted with the same stench but--wonder of wonders!--he must have dealt with the root cause of the problem. Yippee!! But I spoke too soon. Suddenly a gagging wave of Old Spice or something leapt upon me, causing my eyes to water and forcing me to filter my O2 through my turtleneck. Ever heard of the saying "A dab'll do ya"? Obviously NOT. But I was thankful for small mercies. At least it was better than the previous olfactory offense.

5. Bus gets behind a plow procession so next leg of the trip takes at least twice as long as it should. Having finished the book I'd brought along, I spend the time watching the reflection of Casino Royale in the window coming from the portable DVD player of the kid in front of me.

6. Man who has missed a bus to his destination gets on and proclaims to one and all that he will take a taxi to his destination once we're at the next station. His cell phone proceeds to ring at least every 5 minutes. No kidding. Now there were a lot of cell phones on that bus but this particular guy had his particular phone go off particularly often. And he was obviously arguing with someone on the other end. Phrases like "I'm going to get a cab..." and "I missed the bus to..." and "What am I supposed to do..." and so on informed all the rest of us of way more detail of his life than we ever wanted to know and for sure didn't ask. At one point, and this is at least after 10 calls, the guy yelled, "I'm on the &@## bus!" And take it from me when I say that, at this point, I think we all wanted to grab the phone from him and yell "Look, he actually is on the &@## bus!" Sheesh.

7. Wearily disembarked at destination station. Brushed snow off car. Scraped ice off windsheild (Note to self: Do not park with windshield facing road where it will be exposed to slush thrown by plow subsequently freezing into inch think gunk which is impossible to see through and even more impossible to remove in a timely manner). Drive into snowstorm.

8. Reach HOME!

***Disclaimer: term refers to preferred habitat and is not to be construed to relate in any way to preferred music genre despite eponymous similarity to country music band Rascal Flatts.