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.