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Dichotomy

I haven’t posted anything last week, because I wasn’t quite sure what to write. It’s been a weird couple of weeks. A fortnight of strong contrasts between myself and the vast majority of people around me. For myself, I had an unexpected influx of money at the beginning of the month. Not quitting-my-job money, not even paying-my-house money, but the kind to put a smile on my face. And while that was happening, the worst flood we’ve seen in 40 years hit my hometown. It’s also really bad elsewhere in the province, but I don’t know about what records may or may not have been broken there.

I don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, it would be disingenuous to say that the first two weeks of May haven’t been good weeks for me, on the other hand, looking at pictures and videos and listening to people’s stories makes it impossible to call those two weeks anything but bad. It feels so much worse because I know very well how safe I am. It would take an apocalyptic event to bring any flood to my house, and we’re not quite there yet.

The best thing I could think to do was donate some of my unexpected gains to the Canadian Red Cross. It feels like a grain of sand in the desert (the ‘drop in the ocean’ analogy would be poor taste here) but also like the best thing to do. The Red Cross has experience, knowledge and resources; they know what to do, and if I can help them a little, it’s better than nothing.

Should anybody else want to make a donation, for the Quebec relief or for one of the other Canadian Red Cross funds, here is a link to do it.

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Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

April book haul

It just so happens that I bought a lot of books this month, most of them at second-hand places, like the thrift store or the used bookstore. So I thought it might be fun to do a thing I often see done, and show off my haul of the month.

First, early in the month I went to a thrift store near my house for unrelated purchases. They have a few shelves of books, and as I couldn’t resist browsing, I ended up with these two books.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I took advantage of a trip downtown to treat myself to a big chain bookstore visit, as I really wanted those specific books.

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On Friday, as the weather was so nice, I took a chance to stop a the thrift store on my way home from work. I mostly wanted to see how practical of a walk it was, and figured I might grab a book or two if any caught my eye. 20 minutes later, I was in line at the cashier with my arms full.

Finally, I remembered a used bookstore that used to be near my parent’s house. Yesterday I decided to check if it was a) still open, and b) worth the detour. The answers are yes, and sure, if I’m visiting my parents.

Total haul: 19 books.

I wasn’t keen on the idea of second-hand books, for ages. I think part of it was that for a really long time, most of my books were second-hand; first from my parent’s collection, and then from scouring garage sales. I’ve changed my mind. I do like the experience of going to the bookstore and getting brand new books, but I am currently in the process of re-building my book collection, and brand-new books can be really expensive. Comparing the thrift store to the big chain store: I got 2.5 times the amount of books for approximately the same price. Part of the secret is to go with an open mind, because the one specific thing you want may very well not be there.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Something random

Over the last week, I started walking my cat on a leash. Pretty random, right?

Here is the cat in question, wearing her harness.

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And now, a bit of context. If you look back in the July 2015 posts, you may recognize this cat as Rosie, the cat I was supposed to keep for a few months as a favor for the Montreal sibling. I ended up keeping her for good, which I suspect was the goal all along.

During our first yearly vet appointment, I was advised to keep a closer eye on her diet, because she was a little chubby. The Montreal sibling had a strong reaction when I made the report: weight control isn’t just about diet, it’s also about exercise. I needed to play more with her, and I might consider leash-training and taking her on walks. She gave me a harness and instructions on proper training.  (I never actually followed those instructions, because I wanted to keep Rosie an indoor cat. I would let Rosie out on the apartment balcony, until last summer, when learned that a colony of wasps had built a nest in one of my patio chairs. Yikes!)

I focused on controlling her food portions, and when we moved to the new house, she naturally started doing more exercise; the house is two story, and there are more windows compared to the apartment where Rosie could only look outside from the balcony sliding door.  All was looking good.

Then, at the beginning of the month, she decided that she had finished exploring the inside of the house and starting meowing at the outer doors. (Or maybe it was just the “cats don’t like closed doors thing” but the result is the same.) Cats don’t meow in the wild; that sound was developed by domesticated cats to draw the attention of humans, it is very hard to ignore. So I caved, with conditions. I dug up the harness and bought a leash. If Rosie wants to see what’s outside, I’m going to be there, holding on to her every step of the way. I also talked to the vet about my plan, at the second yearly appointment, and was given some heart-worm preventive medicine. (She is just a little over her weight goal, for those who care, and has no health issues.)

Last Saturday was the first time I hooked leash to harness and actually took her out. She’s not going very far, just around the back of the house and back. I, for one, appreciate her timidity. I also appreciate that she doesn’t need to be guided back to the house; when she’s had enough, she makes her way back without a fuss. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s a good start.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Happy Easter weekend

happy easter

Posting this on Holy Saturday, because it just doesn’t get enough love.

It’s funny, thinking about what to write this week, I was musing about Easter itself and how little I do to celebrate it.

When I was a kid, there were the traditional egg hunts, but then the siblings and I grew out of it and now, if we’re lucky, we’ll get a little chocolate sculpture. (To be fair, we are all at an age and income level where we can buy our Easter chocolate ourselves, if we so desire. It’s just not quite the same.) Then Easter became the longest of long weekend. For a while, I used those four days to go to New York and see shows, but I bought a house last fall and I can’t afford it this year.

The point is, we were never religious in my family, and aside from that short period when I was part of a church choir and animated masses every other week or so, I never really spent time with religious people. I sort of fooled myself into thinking people don’t celebrate Easter anymore, unless they have kids or are really into the aesthetic. I was going to write about that, in what likely would have been an embarrassing-in-hindsight know-it-all tone.

But yesterday, hanging in my living room and nursing a low-grade headache, I saw a couple of police cars on the street corner. They were safe-proofing the street for a group of maybe 30 people, the vast majority of whom were holding crucifixes. It was an honest-to-God, city sanctioned (or at least police sanctioned), cross path. Walking in front of my house. Proving that my small secular bubble is not, in fact, the whole world.

So, religious or secular, chocolate or crucifix or travel or none of the above, have a good weekend. Enjoy the pastel colors. The weather is nice over here, hope it’s the same where you are and that you get to go outside and do something you enjoy. Or stay inside and do something you enjoy.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Oops, I did it again.

So… It’s been about a year and a half since I last posted something here. Same old story, really. I missed a day in the schedule and it stopped me cold.

So here I am once again, giving this blogging thing a go, seeing if I can do better this time around. A lot happened since September 2015, too much to lay out in one post. Better, I think, to just give a bit at a time, when the occasion calls for it.

I guess that’s it for now. Third time’s the charm, am I right?

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Anything goes Sunday: Announcing the Megalaunch!

Renaissance, and our friend S.M. Carriere, are organizing a launch for all of our 2015 material, as well as for the novel Human, which is S.M.’s most recent release. The Megalaunch is not the most creative name, but it is very appropriate considering that we are launching three supernatural suspense novels (the aforementioned Human, Caroline Frechette’s Blood Matter from the Family by Choice series, and Evan May’s The King in Darkness), one cozy mystery (Madona Skaff-Koren’s Journey of a Thousand Steps) one non-fiction (Unblocked, Caroline’s guide to defeat writer’s block) and two games (my own A Match Made in Austen, and Caroline’s Extrahumans, companion to the Family by Choice novels). Also, coming up with a clever name that would encompass all of this diverse material is more difficult then one would think. So Megalaunch it is.

The event will take place at the Royal Oak (161 Laurier street in Ottawa), on October 25th at 1PM. More info can be found here.

Also, next Saturday, Oct 3rd, I will be that the Geek Market/Capital Gaming Expo, at the Nepean Sportplex. I will be hosting a game session of A Match Made in Austen in the afternoon, from 2:30 to 6:30, and will be at the Renaissance table for the rest of the day. I have no idea what Capital Gaming Expo is usually like, but I’ve had a good time at the Geek Market since I stated going two years ago, and I don’t see any reason for that to change. Do come and say hi!

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Book Tuesday: Emmy and Oliver, by Robin Benway

Emmy and Oliver

Resume: Emmy and Oliver live next door to each other, and they are best friends. His parents are divorced, and his father only sees him on the week-ends. One Friday, Oliver goes with his father for a three day week-end. He doesn’t return, not for a decade. Emmy grew up living the consequences of Oliver being kidnapped by his father: the questions from the police and the reporters, her parents becoming much too protective for her taste, her missing her best friend. When Oliver returns, they have to learn to know each other all over again, and deal with the consequences of a ten year absence coming to an end.

Robin Benway is an underrated voice of YA fiction, and that is a gosh-darned shame. I read her previous novel The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June, and I really enjoyed it. (I have not read Wait, Audrey, Wait yet, but I plan to.) And I was especially looking forward to this.

I expected a typical contemporary YA romance, but I got a lovely coming of age story on top of the cute romance. What I loved most about this book is that the romance between Emmy and Oliver developed naturally and without drama. They both had enough drama in their relationship with their parents, and in the general circumstances, so keeping the romance simple and sweet was a great touch.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in Uncategorized