Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lull in the Whirl - Back in Touch

Expo 150 - Grandmothers' Necklace selling sites, local contributors and some of the press clippings.

Before the big rush, 100th Caroline at Fall Showcase 2011
Birthday Party

GranAfriCan Tea, 2011, Jean LeBreton and other Drummers

Drumbeat Literary Issue

Here comes the bride... Shall we dance?

EXPO 150 -

Shows the reason for the Petawawa Grannies'

displays & work

EXPO 150 came and went...a very successful happening overall, despite being a tented event with some rain and wind. As I promised eons ago, here are a few pictures from our display. As you will soon discover, this is a form of editing in which I've never engaged before: On-site with photos. Learning... Please, "bear" with me.



First shift on duty at the Petawawa Grannies booth

Another event which kept family busy preparing was my mother-in-law’s 100th birthday event in Sarnia. She is Jean Elford, a Grandmothers’ Necklace contributor, an author of two books and writer of many, many, many articles. We family members arranged to have the party catered in her own home and, despite the muggy 100 degrees F heat, friends and relatives kept the house active for some time! All of us, led by our daughter Alexandra, had gathered photos and web images which related to Jean’s 100 years of a very active life. Even the Google map photo of her home includes her image returning from a daily walk!!

Kind persons bought copies of Grandmothers’ Necklace from me and asked Jean to sign it. Jean, a little horrified that I might have been actually flogging the book at her birthday party, was, nevertheless, gracious about signing. (In fact, people had recognized the opportunity themselves and had asked me about getting a copy at the time.)

Despite car challenges, we were back in Petawawa for a local event called Showcase where the Petawawa Grannies had a display and an opportunity to sell the Grandmothers’ Necklace book, jewellery and pashminas for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

NOTE: In my original set-up for this blog entry, I had lovely photos interspersed among the lines of writing. Some of them were framed in different shapes. However, as I haven't a single clue about how to anchor the photos properly, and refuse to waste any more time on that fruitless effort, I will put the rest of them at the bottom or top of the text and hope that they will at least co-operate with that approach.

September 11th was Petawawa Grannies’ popular GranAfriCanTea with drummers, market stalls. A beautiful quilt as one of the prizes.

I had the honour of being guest editor for the literary edition of Drumbeat, September issue, the newsletter for the Ottawa-Gatineau Grandmothers Network.

October brought two special events on the same extended weekend for us. Our niece, Mary Ann Wilson, my brother Bill’s daughter (a journalism graduate who contributed a touching and amusing piece “Grandmother’s Necklaces”, to Grandmothers’ Necklace) married Neil, in St. Jacobs, ON.

We hurried back the next day, topped up our own partially pre-packed car and drove to Sands on Golden for a reunion with a group of friends (and their spouses) all of whom had graduated from Ottawa Teachers’ College at the same time. We’ve been having reunions regularly, narrowing the number of years between them as we creak into old age.

This was another happy experience AND several copies of Grandmothers’ Necklace were sold and signed AND the hospitable Sands, with its delicious food and modern accommodations, has now been added to our list of places carrying the GN book!! See:

Before the sun sets on today’s entry, I’d like to share the news that, thanks to the help of a family-tree tracing cousin and the kindness of the editor of the Biggleswade Chronicle there, I’ve been contacted for the first time by Haddow relatives in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, England.

If you read my little piece, “Daisy Chain”, in Grandmothers’ Necklace, you’ll know that my mother was orphaned by eight. Her older brother was sent to English relatives and she was raised by an aunt and uncle here. Biggleswade was the name on a wedding photograph I found in my mother’s belongings.

It has felt as though I’ve suddenly become the central character in one of the mysteries I enjoy reading, and the clues are opening up. In England I’ve now been identified as the daughter of the sister of Art, the brother who was sent there. I’m excitedly looking forward to seeing photographs of the family and hearing more about them.

If you’ve stayed with me this long, thank you for reading. The Word Guild, an organization for writers and editors who are Christian, is posting some information about me on the parts of the site that are for editors and professional writers.

Potential clients will be encouraged to look here. Eventually, this blog should become more of a showplace for some of my skills and years of experience.

NOTE TO BROWSING POTENTIAL CLIENTS, PLEASE don’t judge my editing or writing work habits by the length of time that passes between my entries on this boggy blog. If I’m working for a client, I can’t always be working for me at the same time. That is a choice I make.

In addition to the above, I’ve been nursing a sick cat, tutoring a CFB Petawawa officer in English, dealing with some of my own and my husband’s ailments, editing a YA novel, scanning and organizing a zillion photos and objects, and (gasp!) WRITING, refining, organizing and submitting ms. on my own behalf (e.g. one poem was in the October issue of Drumbeat. Another small piece won me a promo position for GN on the radio.)

During this brief ( ?) hiatus, I have hopes of getting more of the W.O.R.S. completed as I await/seek the next editing/writing contracts.

I'll save the picture of sunset on Golden Lake for the next entry.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


No, I haven’t died. I’ve just been very, very busy. Thank you for asking. The cancer still seems to be at bay and other health issues are tolerable, often ignorable.
The Grandmothers’ Necklace anthology has now been launched and introduced at events in Canada in Petawawa, Pembroke, Deep River, Ottawa, Stittsville, Smiths Falls, Ajax, Scarborough, Toronto, Guelph, Belleville, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario and in Truro, Nova Scotia, as well as in United States locations. Coming soon is an event in British Columbia. Several writers and public speakers are taking the book along to their engagements to sell with their own items. A huge thank you to those who are continuing to independently support the Grandmothers to Grandmothers in this way.
The book has been sold at the gamut of local area events, as varied as a large Petawawa Grannies Tea with a Difference in an arena (drummers, readers, singer and market stalls included) sponsored by Allegro, GranAfriCan (cross-Canada Grandmothers to Grandmothers and African Granny gathering) in Toronto, and, most recently, at the Ottawa-Gatineau Granny Fest’s showplace. Other women’s groups join with Grandmothers to Grandmothers to help make it all happen. Coming soon in this area will be our Grandmothers to Grandmothers booth at Renfrew County EXPO150 , June.9th to 12, 2011. This summer, I also hope to have a special reading night in Renfrew, Ontario, the town in which I grew up, many years ago. Experience shows that people thoroughly enjoy hearing those stories and poems.

If you wish to keep track of the variety of 42+ shops , stores, businesses and markets at which the book continues to be sold in Ontario and Nova Scotia, please check periodically. While you are there, please take a look at the services and beautiful items for sale in Valley Artisans and in the other marketing places. The GN selling sites have been chosen with care.

When you buy directly from me or at any of these listed locations, apart from Essence publishers, the entire price of the book goes to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. These are books which have already been printed. From Essence and any of the other on-the-web company sellers, the books are produced as print-on-demand and only a small portion of the price goes to SLF. And, when you get a book at anything less than full price, it is the Grandmothers of Africa who are cheated. Our goal is to get as much of the money to the approved HIV/AIDS-fighting projects as possible. The sad truth is that while we dawdle, the hardworking African grannies wear down and children die, through no fault of their own.
Once the previously printed books are sold, the money from the other markets can carry the cause forward, though with less benefit to African Grannies.

We have approximately 1000 of the 4000 books printed to go. Media coverage on radio and in newspapers and periodicals has been very helpful. We could use a few more book reviews and I have yet to be interviewed on television about the book and why it exists, but I haven’t pursued that, not even locally, and I should.

So, dear browsers, this is where much of my time and energy has been spent during the past year or so.. In addition, my own writing has been published in literary journals, periodicals and in newspapers. I’ve also been editing books: memoirs, a book of poetry, a teen fantasy novel, among other things. I’ve guest-preached in a few area churches and was encouraged to introduce congregations to the book after worship. I’ve provided English language tutoring for some very capable French-speaking Canadian military.

My husband Robert’s emphysema diagnosis has meant that, excluding our very enjoyable car and ferry trip to Newfoundland/ Labrador and Nova Scotia shortly after our son’s wedding in 2010, I have cut back on travelling and the book promotion activities.

When, however, we travelled to Toronto last week to visit with Robert’s sister and husband, two of our “children” and their spouses + three grandchildren, and to Sarnia, to visit Robert’s 99-year-old mother (a professional writer featured on the cover of the GN book), I was able, in addition to having some fun in the sun with the amazing grandchildren, to check in on a few of the selling sites along the way, renewing supplies where needed.
At the moment, apart from family, I’m dividing my time among
1) preparing for our EXPO 150 Grandmothers to Grandmothers booth,
2) submitting some of my own poetry and prose manuscripts to various places,
3) producing my contribution to the goody bags for The Word Guild’s Write!Canada Conference in Guelph,
4) getting ready for this year’s reunion with a group of old Ottawa Teachers’ College friends,
5) protesting the dam proposed for the beautiful Petawawa River, (the GN book draws its name from the Emerald Necklace trail system by that river)
6) Reminding people that I welcome editing, tutoring, guest preaching and speaking, as well as writing opportunities for income.

People who haven’t been to our home ask me how I manage to do so much. A great deal of prayer, of course. Also, though I gain some muscle by toting my husband’s oxygen around, carting the groceries he has bought into the house, completing imminent-visitor-approach vacuuming and getting the recyclables and garbage out, I remain generally housework-challenged. The cats don’t mind-—as long as we keep the litter changed, their eye-drops and creams in, their plates full, the tap turned on briefly for running-water drinks, their coats brushed and their vet visits regular. Robert and I are trying to ignore the present landslide danger state until EXPO is over, something collapses or I snap, whichever comes first.

It is weird to be starting dishes and laundry later at night for the cheaper Ontario hydro rates, but my odd hours and the machines keep that fairly easy. Now that the monstrous Petawawa mosquitoes have landed at The Pines, the clothes-line does not invite usage. I wonder how many people of a certain age now change their laundry from washer to dryer when they get up to go to the bathroom in the late night/early hours of the morning. Or am I the only one?

Now for a brief rest before it's time to get up. I promise--more photos soon. Thank you for checking in.