Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pink Shirt Day

Today is Pink Shirt Day in Canada. I became aware of this because my kids’ principal is asking the students to wear pink to school, and my kids are all eager to participate. Much easier for the girls than for my son, but I assured him that I have some not-too-girly pink shirts kicking around he can try out.

The story of the day’s origins is quite inspiring. A male student from a high school in Nova Scotia was harassed for wearing a pink shirt. A few days later hundreds of students were wearing pink shirts to school in a show of support and solidarity.

Now isn't that an inspiring story! What's your favourite published story or book about overcoming bullying?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Freedom To Read Week

Freedom to Read Week 2009

It’s Freedom to Read Week in Canada! The official website has a ton of resources for how to celebrate. Fascinating to read the list of challenged books and magazines. Pick one up in support of our freedom to choose our own boundaries.

I can’t say I have a specific experience with book banning, but I can recall the buzz surrounding one of Judy Blume’s books. I think it was Forever. And if memory serves (hey, grade six was a loooong time ago) Deenie was also considered pretty shady. Can’t recall who exactly raised the fuss, whether it was just casual disapproval or more formalized as in a complaint from a parent. I do know that I read both. Particularly Deenie. I loved it. We girls passed it around at school, lending it to each other to read. I still remember Deenie’s hatred of her scoliosis brace. At a time when body image was becoming something I was starting to be aware of, and not in a good way, it was an important book to me.

Were you ever forbidden to read a book you really wanted to read?

May we always have access to books that are important to us, whatever our definition of important may be.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Flight of the Silver Dart

Big celebrations going on this weekend in the world of Canadian aviation. It’s the one hundredth anniversary of the flight of the Silver Dart.

Never heard of it?

First heavier-than-air flight in Canada. You know how those Americans have their Wright brothers and all that? We Canajuns have the Silver Dart.

Background on the Silver Dart here at the Canadian Encyclopedia.

And all the info on the celebrations in Baddeck, Nova Scotia from February 20 - 23 here:

Pretty daring to launch yourself up in the sky in one of those flimsy things, don’t you think? I mean, sure I have flown in an ultralight a few times when I was a lot younger, but at least I knew the thing worked!

Have a high flying weekend

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I've Been Reprinted

Just got a small surprise in the mail! Apparently my poem was reprinted in Babybug's May/June 08 issue. I'm a little behind the times, I know. I did actually know about the possibility of this but I have to admit I forgot all about it for awhile. It would be nice to get an author's copy...but maybe it's in the mail. ??

This whole issue may be the same inside as the original issue in which the poem appeared. The cover sure is the same. But I know if your readership grows up it makes sense to recycle some of your best content. And hey, I'm flattered to be recycle worthy! (And I did get a reprint fee.)

This magazine was much loved by my kids and I when they were small. My copies are all dog-eared and chewed, a few pages stuck together likely by drool, but they lasted very well. It was such a nice surprise to get a new issue in the mail. And I started reading to them as infants so the short pieces inside worked perfectly for their attention spans. As a writer, this extensive reading of the magazine meant I did do my "homework" into what they liked to publish before I had a piece accepted by them. Actually, two pieces eventually. (Details on my website if you're interested)

All three of my kids now love to read, and for that I'm truly thankful. I can't help but think that maybe Babybug played a real role in that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cybils Winners

The Cybils awards for this year were announced. The full lists of winning books from 2008 are available here:

Thanks to all those bloggers who donate their time and energy to put together a terrific list of reading and a terrific awards program!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


We had to replace the roof this summer, and we went with a steel roof. We knew this would mean snow wouldn't stay put on the roof, but, um, we weren't really prepared for what that would mean in actual practical everyday results.

Last night it was all very exciting as the kids and I watched and waited for the sheets of packed snow to slide down the steel, break free into the air and explode into snow boulders as they hit the ground.

But the view's a little different today. Here's the porch:

And here are the five steps to my front door. Or rather, here AREN'T the five steps to my front door:
Good thing shovelling's not my job. :>

Monday, February 9, 2009

Snow Fleas!

I suppose if I'm going to complain frequently about the bad weather I should give the good weather equal air time. So I'll go on record as saying we've had several sunny days in a row!!

Today I enjoyed the sunshine on my walk out the driveway to meet the kids off the schoolbus (they're old enough to do it themselves, but I'm like a referee whose presence wards off the worst of the after-school bickering).

And I saw snow fleas!!!

Those tiny specs that look like dirt or maybe freshly ground black pepper are a tiny sign that winter is on the slow slide out. Don't pass up a chance to watch these creatures. They're fascinating. Really they're not fleas at all. They're more properly called springtails.

Here's a great article from Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine about them, and another at Environmental Education for Kids also from Wisconsin.

And just to prove that they do jump and jiggle, here's my really amateur video of them:

[This is having technical difficulties--I'll post it when I can get it to work]

On sunny days, near the bases of trees,


You just might find your own snow fleas.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day

The verdict is in: six more weeks of winter. The groundhog closest to me, Wiarton Willie, saw his shadow. And so did his counterparts Shubenacadie Sam and Punxsutawney Phil. So it’s unanimous.


Somehow I’m not surprised. I got stuck in my driveway on Friday for the second time this year. The power went out this morning. And so it goes.

But back to groundhogs.

When I was little I called groundhogs “twitchy.” As in they weren’t groundhogs, they were twitchies. I grew up in the middle of a field, the back section of which was filled with asparagus someone had planted at one time but then grew up “wild” year after year. (Feral asparagus? Now there’s something to ponder.) Needless to say, that field of asparagus was Groundhog Heaven!!!

But anyway, one day a groundhog came right up to the back of the house and looked in the window. I stood there watching its whiskers twitching, and I said “Twitchy!” (According to my parents; my memory’s not that good.) So ever after at our house, all groundhogs were called Twitchy. If I saw one out in the field I’d yell “Twitchy!” and Dad would go get his pellet rifle. He rarely connected (sorry, Dad). Yeah, this was the 70s way out in the boonies. You had to be there.

But while I’m thinking groundhogs, check out The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun by Wendie Old.

May it help me remember we shouldn’t shoot the messenger.