Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pansy Personality

Where did the week go? Been wearing the titles chauffeur, spectator, and convalescent this week. About to be immersed in the volunteer world of figure skating for a few days (don't ask). So just a quick post of these photos snapped within the last couple days.

Some plants just seem to have personality, don't you think?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pop a Wheelie Point of View

This past weekend I took Number One Son to field lacrosse provincial qualifiers in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). As we were speeding down a major multi-lane highway I noticed two motorcycles on the on ramp. Because I was in the right lane, I was in the process of judging whether or not I'd need to adjust my speed when I realized exactly what the first motorcycle driver was doing: he'd popped a wheelie! Merging onto a major highway. Not 50 feet away from me.

Here are our two points of view:
Number One Son: Whoa that's EPIC! How does he do that?

Me: OMG is he crazy?! What if he wipes out and crashes in front of me?
And that's why I love writing for kids. Their reaction is so much more fun. 

(The motorcycle sustained the wheelie for about 5 seconds or more, returning to two wheels just as it merged onto the highway proper and sped away. Big relief for me. In spite of our differing points of view, it was definitely the most memorable moment of the weekend for both of us.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Admiring the Admirals

I was also going to call this post: Six Excuses for Not Mowing the Lawn. For reasons which will become obvious.

On Wednesday there were at least six red admiral butterflies on my lawn--erm, the patch of dandelions, violets, clover, wild strawberry, and grass that passes as my lawn. Six! The butterflies were feasting on the dandelion nectar, I guess. I spent some time admiring the admirals.

This is my best shot. Apparently red admirals are one of the earliest butterflies to appear in Ontario each year.

Can you see the six butterflies below? (Click on the photo to see it larger). Scroll down for the answer.

I've circled the butterflies I was sure of. Did you get the same ones? (click to make it larger)

And if you really want more, I also made a movie, which you can see at YouTube here:

Unfortunately these butterflies have not reappeared since Wednesday. Maybe that's because the weather has been dull and rainy and the dandelions are mostly closed up. Maybe they've just moved on. What a priviledge to watch these insects for awhile.

More info and some great professional quality shots of eggs, larva, and chrysalis here (select "Life Histories" and then "Red Admiral":

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So Random

Random occurances from my world in the last week:
  • a porcupine crossed my path (okay, the road...I was in my car, photo below)
  • the bittern is back! It makes the weirdest noise, kind of like a tap dripping. I'll try to record it.
  • we had snow, but it's melted thank gawd. The ferns still look fried though.
  • picked the first rhubarb of the season and made an upside down cake for dinner last night
  • ate boiled dandelion buds (with butter and salt) and survived. They were actually pretty good although I think I boiled them a bit too long.
  • booked my first Skype author visit for next week, eep! 
  • the other day as I was crossing a plaza parking lot a pickup truck drove past with what every household needs strapped to the box...a huge plastic moose! The things you see in Muskoka, I swear!
That's a porcupine, honest. I did a U-ey and pulled off on a handy sideroad. Phone photo so it's not stellar. If you're reading this on the web (i.e. not RSS) click on the photo to see a bigger version.

All right, now off to the serious business of writing and revising.

Friday, May 7, 2010

NaPiBoWriWee Done

I did it! Hard to believe I actually pulled off the seven drafts in seven days before the deadline: Am I ever glad I participated in this event.

The push of the challenge format really helped me. I started off a bit behind. Saturday, the first day of the challenge, we took the kids fishing. Hey, it was the Orillia Perch Festival. But that afternoon and evening I curled up with my notebook and got the first one done. Day two and I did...nothing writing related. So it was one on Monday and two on Tuesday. Wednesday was a bit trickier because that idea kept wanting to rhyme. Some of my prose rhymes too much...or my rhyme has too much prose in it. So it's finished but it stinks, basically. There's something there I'd still like to work on, though.

Thursday was ouch. It was an idea I had thought of every so often for a lot of years. I did hammer out a draft but it's the one I like the least. Rats! Friday, today, was a bit of a surprise. I was going to do another idea I'd been thinking of for quite awhile but as I was going through the random slips and ripped bits of paper that pass for my idea file I pulled up a note, a single sentence really, and ran with that. Now that one I can't wait to get back to working on.

As a result of this challenge week I have some new piles of stories to shape. I'm completely happy with that.

Thank you Paula Yoo for all your work organizing this event, blogging about it, encouraging all the participants. You rock!! (and I wrote that like I mean it! :>)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

NaPiBoWriWee Progress

I'm into Day 5 of NaPiBoWriWee or the National Picture Book Writing Week challenge (what? check out for the answer). How am I doing?

Not bad.

I have four picture book manuscripts done in the challenge to complete seven in seven days. Okay, those four are completely crappy. They're first drafts for sure. But four new first drafts is more than I had before I joined this challenge.

So far I'm liking this push to just write it and move on. I think what I've realized about my writing process is that I tend to get stuck wanting to perfect one idea before I move on to another. Hard to generate new material to explore if I'm always stuck on the old.

But now, at Day 5, I find myself procrastinating. I've already drafted out my top ideas or the ones I thought would be the most fun. Now I'm into the dregs of the idea file.

It may be a tough slog from here on in. But a-slogging I will go...