July 31, 2013

cover girl, take two

Photo by Terry Byrnes
I'm really thrilled to be featured on the cover on the latest issue of the Montreal Review of Books! You can read the full profile and review here. I'm so grateful for the prominent coverage of the book, as well as for the thoughtful review and interesting chat with fellow writer Ami Sands Brodoff. Not all interviews are created equal, and it is always a pleasure to speak with someone who is a careful reader...and who isn't afraid to ask real questions.

July 25, 2013

A writer to watch!

It made my Canada Day to be named one of CBC Books' 2013 Writers to Watch!  Along with a lot of writers whose books are in my TBR pile.

You can click through the full list here

For another amazing list, check out Amanda Leduc's Up-and-Comers on her (lovely!) blog . This is a update on a group of writers she profiled a year ago...although if you are a writer be warned: it may make you feel insecure and unproductive or (better yet) inspired to to work harder.


I started this post over three weeks ago now. Travel and vacation has kept me away from the internet a little more than I'd like. 

To celebrate our anniversary, D and I went on a weekend trip to Franconia Notch State Park, where we saw bears (in the backyard of our B&B!), hiked a gorge, had some amazing pizza (jalapeno-cream-cheese-stuffed crust....YUM), backed some plastic duckies in the town Lions' Club annual duck race fundraiser, caught the 4th of July "Home Day" parade, swam in the lake, visited Frost Place on Frost Day, and fulfilled a long-time yearning (er, of mine) to go to a drive-in movie, something I haven't done in almost twenty years. I am going to suggest you peruse the snack bar menu of the Northern Nights Drive-In because it is American thing of beauty. We took full advantage with chocolate milkshakes, cheeseburgers, chicken fingers...and even a meatball sub. When in New Hampshire... 

Pickup trucks are de rigeur at the drive-in

Small town drive-in

The Frost Place, one of Robert Frost's former homes

Walking the trails behind the Frost Place

Hilarious scrambling at the end of the duck race

We topped it off with an amazing meal at Manoir Hovey in North Hatley on way home. It was the kind of meal I can barely describe because it was so delicious and delightfully detailed on the menu.  Fine dining menus are a complex conceptual/literary/culinary art form, don't you think? Basically (in a prosaic, incomplete summary that does little justice to the meal), I had asparagus soup, halibut, cheese risotto, a bunch of amazing chanterelles (pilfered from D), and notably, as a pre-dessert, some apple-tarragon sorbet. Notable not only for the delicate and (at least to me) surprising combination of flavours, but also just for the concept of a pre-dessert, which strikes me as a useful one that might have almost as much mileage in it as second breakfast.  

A week after our return, we came back out to the country for a working vacation which has included lots of swimming (initially, during the heat wave), reading, writing, and napping. Just a few days left, but I hope to try and squeeze in the time to finish a second story...

July 3, 2013

chalk paint and summer storms

This blog has been quiet of late, due partially to a (very) little bit of writing (hurray!) and idea-hatching and a vow to spend a little more time relaxing and being social.  Also, I've had two four-day weekends in a row, both of which I spent mostly away from the computer.  

I've lost track of most of what I was going to write about here, although one notable standout was almost getting hit by lightning last weekend.  We were out on our back porch, moving a painting project out of the way of a sudden impending downpour, and lightning struck the transformer on the closest pole to our apartment...less than 10 meters away.  It was like a bomb going off: a huge flash, sparks, smoke, and it felt like everything was shaking.  My husband's ears were still ringing hours later.  (He was closer.)  We lost power, but we went to a movie, and by the time we came back, it had been restored.  It was also a real neighbourhood occurance, as everyone milled around once the rain let up a bit and the scariest part of the storm had passed, to say, "Did you see that??"  

The painting project in question has also taken up a fair bit of time.  Here is a "Before" picture:

 A photo of our bargain hutch from the Kijiji listing ($80!)

A few weekends ago, we went on a quest to Pointe Claire to buy this special chalk paint that doesn't require any stripping or sanding before application.  (Just a coat of wax afterwards.)  I'm really happy with how it worked out...I only wish I had bought more paint because there are so many things I'd like to update!

We started with something small...a random wooden star decoration that I've had forever:

 The paint and the star.
(Also, if you look in the top right of the photo, you can see the
 I Heart Cheese graffiti tagger has struck in our alleyway. I much 
prefer "I Heart Cheese" to fellow tagger "Cobra Cock".)

Random blue star ready to be deployed.

Then on to something bigger...We started the hutch last weekend and finished it up last night.  The weather (perpetual intermittent rain) has made things difficult!  My husband did more of the painting, but we both did the waxing and the buffing.

D.fixing the cabinet door closing mechanism.

Finding enough room to paint on the deck was a bit of a jigsaw among the few remaining bins and boxes of smoky things we're still hoping to clean.

 I probably wasted too much of the purple accent paint inside the drawers. 

It turned out not to suit the spot we'd planned to put it, but we found an even better spot on the other side of the room.

Finished hutch!  I'm really happy with how it turned out.
(Though it needs to be levelled off to compensate for 
our sloping floor, and we still need to replace a pane 
of glass. I'd like to change the lower knobs eventually, too.)

We have a few more budget pieces we're hoping to paint, if the weather and our patience cooperates.  It's almost unbelievable that it's already July and it feels like the summer has barely started. 

On a non-chalk-paint front, some nice things have been happening with the book lately, too, but I think that will be a separate post...