Happiness Is…

Healthy New Addictions.

Library loans have been strictly forbidden from our book-crammed, chaotic home. Until now.

This week, Lucy and Bayla got their first library cards.

Lucy’s a big-time reader. So, she was pleased.

Bayla’s a big-time shopper. And a bigger-time geek. So, she’s been over the moon.

Audio books. Wii games. Wii nights. Board game nights. NFB Fridays.

And, above all, surfing the catalogue. Selecting, “holding” and swiping out.

And flipping Eva Ibbotson CDs in and out of the boombox.

Hope this habit’s a long one.

Looking for Me

In January, 2009, I was a busy woman. A stressed-out Nortel software designer. A hard-working mother to 7 and 9 year old girls. A passionate kidlit advocate publishing four podcast episodes a week.

I exercised tonnes. I moved fast. I hardly slept.

In April, 2009, after 26 years of systems analysis, programming and design, I leapt to a short-term technical writing position. I’d never identified with my occupation but without my high-stress, high-tech job, I did kind of wonder who I was.

But I was Andrea Ross of JustOneMoreBook. I was creating stuff. Life was exciting. And the twenty-minute walk to my cushy tech-writing job was lovely.

I was fine.

In September, 2009, in midst of that six-week diagnostic stress, I kicked our beloved podcast to the curb. Before that identity loss had time to hit, I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Thus began another busy year.

In September, 2010, I returned to my short-term technical writing position. But the pointlessness, plodding pace and poisonous co-workers soon put an end to that too. On April 14, 2011, I quit. Ending almost 30 years of constant full-time employment.

And here I am. No podcast. No job.  And two tween-age kids who consistently resist me.

I could cook or clean. But I don’t.
I could get out and do stuff. But I can’t think what.

I know I’m lucky.

Now, who am I?

I’m Reading at CensorFest

Let’s celebrate the power of creative expression — and the freedom to offend — Wednesday, February 23rd 8pm at the cozy, kitchy Raw Sugar Cafe at Censored Out Loud:

Join a motley crew of writers, actors, musicians (including Lisa Poushinsky, Nichole McGill, Jesse DangerouslyMegan Jerome, Jessica Ruano, Mike Essoudry) and nobodies like me as we celebrate Freedom To Read Week by belting out some scandalous — and not so scandalous — censored or challenged works.

Cover: $10 or pay what you can.
Proceeds to PEN Canada.

Hope to see you there.

Related Posts:

Back in the Saddle

If Briefly.

December 1, 2010 has been designated as Canadian National Day of Dusting Off Old Podcasts.

Our sorely neglected podcast JustOneMoreBook.com has been sitting dormant for 14 months now.

I miss it. Mark misses it. Lucy and Bayla miss it.

So, although we were completely unprepared and the audio itself is nothing to be proud of, it was huge fun to dust off that audio equipment, drink some delicious coffee in our cozy Wild Oat home, and chirp some off-the-cuff praise for a few children’s books.

From the Mouth of Bayla # 28 : a summer of reading

This summer we have read:

  • If You’re Reading this it’s too Late
  • Manolito Four Eyes #1
  • Manolito Four Eyes #2
  • Manolito Four Eyes #3
  • Leo and the Lesser Lion
  • Holes
  • The Unearthly Asylum
  • Sara Book #1
  • Sara Book #2
  • Elijah of Buxton
  • Zombiekins
  • Kenny and the Dragon
  • The Higher Power of Lucky
  • After Hamelin

I really liked all of them but I have to say that After Hamelin was one of my  top favourites. I think you should read them.

Tossing Timid

“Fish eating’s like anything else in life, Elijah. If you go at it ‘specting something bad to happen, all you gunn do is draw that bad thing to you. You caint be timid ’bout nothing you do, you got to go at it like you ‘specting good things to come out of it. If I’s to worry bout bones choking me, it’d happen every time I et fish. Ain’t nothing further from my mind”

Elijah of Buxton. Christopher Paul Curtis. Scholastic Press. 2007.

Contested Irrelevance — My PAB2010 Jolt

Related Posts:

Honourable Mentions (Thank you!):

What would I do if I didn’t know I couldn’t?

“But turtles can’t fly,” said the bird.

“They can’t?” said Tudley. “I didn’t know that.”

He looked down at the shocked faces of turtles below.

“Did you know that turtles can’t fly?” he called down.

They all just nodded.

Tudley Didn’t Know by John Himmelman.
Sylvan Dell Publishing

I’m going to start reading this picture book first thing every morning.

From the Mouth of Bayla #17: Lee Edward Fodi

Our house has become a usual  stop for authors and illustrators, we’ve had two authors at our house in the last 3 months ( Lee Edward Fodi and Sheree Fitch.) Lee came over tonight and we had an awesome time with him (ex: we went for a walk with the dog to see the tulips and we had a BBQ.) Lee is also coming to my school on Tuesday. I can’t wait to see him again!

When we were on the walk with Lee  mom fell in a hole up to her crotch and then she said “@#$%!!!!!!!!!!”

Acquiring a Taste for Bittersweet

Apt musings from The Mysterious Benedict Society:

“It’s true,” Sticky said. “Everything has been bittersweet.”

“Maybe we should acquire a taste for bittersweet,” said Reynie with a grin. “Then everything would feel wonderful.”

“That’s stupid,” Constance snipped. “If it felt wonderful then it wouldn’t be bittersweet, would it?”

Reynie only shrugged. He wasn’t at all sure about that.

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma
Trenton Lee Stewart, 2009.

Our Powerful Hidden Selves

Toby is a Crocodile (by Dr. Barbara Nichol)

When you see him in his basket, Toby seems to be asleep.
But though his eyes are closed, our Toby isn’t counting sheep.
I have for you the kind of news you won’t hear every day —
Not only is he wide awake, he’s very far away.
While you might hear outside the distant sound of passing feet,
In Toby’s ears there throbs a most exotic jungle beat.

For oftentimes the self inside is not the self that shows.
Oh, Toby is a crocodile, but only Toby knows.

Where you see just a muzzle there are terrible swift jaws.
And he has ghastly talons where you see just fuzzy paws.
Despite the false impression that his furry coat creates,
Toby’s covered nose to tail in thick and horny plates.
You might not see the reptile in the basket by the chair,
But that you do not see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

For oftentimes the self inside is not the self that shows.
Oh, Toby is a crocodile, but only Toby knows.

His teeth are sharp as razors and his eyes are sharp as teeth.
A sunny surface has this dog, with darker depths beneath.
The fish dive to the riverbed, the birds are mute with fear.
Not any beast, however cruel, would ever dare go near.
And so, while Toby seems to doze unmoving on the floor,
He slips into the water and he glides away from shore.

For oftentimes the self inside is not the self that shows.
Oh, Toby is a crocodile, but only Toby knows.

Biscuits in the Cupboard, Barbara Nichol.
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1997.