Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ice Storm

We lost power from Saturday night until this morning due to an ice storm that affected over a quarter of a million households in the Greater Toronto Area alone. Only about half of those people have their power back as of this morning.

Although at first the quiet was restful, it soon got old...and COLD.

Now serving...icicles on the terrace!
I tried to photograph the icy trees, but this doesn't do them justice. It was a dazzling spectacle, until you realized what havoc those twinkly trees caused.
Winter wonderland? I think not.
We were almost ready to board Echo and stay in a hotel when the lights came back on. Although it was involuntary, the experience gave us a new appreciation for modern conveniences and simple things such as heat, light, food, shelter, warm clothes, and hot water. We have a lot to be thankful for.
Happy holidays and keep warm!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Teen Books: A Guide for Families by Robin Prehn

For the past few years, my friend, Robin Prehn, has been reading and reviewing current YA novels. Because she is such a voracious reader, she has a grasp of teen fiction that lets her place them in a wider context.

She has collected and categorized her reviews into an e-book, available from Amazon:

Teen Books: A Guide for Families


If you're a parent of teenagers, if you're a writer who wants to write for teens, or if you just want to understand the YA fiction craze, this book would make a nice holiday gift.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"I've looked at snow from both sides now..."

Oh boy! Snow! Let me out!

Mom! Let me in! It's collllld out here!
(Repeat and rinse.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: One Of a Kind

owl telephone holder

owl linen tea towel (somewhat crumpled)
art deco vase
I bought the first two items a week ago at the One-Of-A-Kind Craft Show.
I bought the art deco vase (my favourite) at an antiques sale, probably in the 80s.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happiness is...

...new books by friends in the mail!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Book Launch

Me:               I want to have a book launch party.

Husband:      Okay. We'll take the ferry to the Island, put your book on a raft, and launch it there!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Happy Publication News!

I'm delighted to announce that

I will self-publish a print book of poems.

ANTIQUE PIANO & Other Sour Notes,

a collection of humorous poems,

will be available March 2014!
(I really wanted a curly, cursive typeface for that. Oh, well.)

I've been working behind the scenes for a few months on this and it is both exciting and terrifying, almost overwhelming. I needed to learn all kinds of new things and to research the process of self-publication. That is why I haven't been blogging much.

I've formatted the manuscript in a template, chosen typefaces and a layout, had a logo made, hired a proofreader and a cover designer.

It's coming together and it's starting to look like a book, not a manuscript.

Monday, October 28, 2013

BBC The Natural World: Return of the Eagle Owl

Stunning video of the BBC programme, The Natural World: Return of the Eagle Owl.

48 minutes long.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Niagara On The Lake

Yesterday, M and I and two good friends drove 90 miles south to Niagara On The Lake for a relaxing day trip.

The weather was perfect: sunny, warm but not too hot. Although I did find myself popping in and out of the air-conditioned stores to keep cool.

Queen's Landing
Queen's Landing is an elegant hotel with a water view from the bar and patio. We chose to eat lunch in the bar near the window, to avoid pesky bees and intense sun.

From the bar and patio you can see the lake and sailboats.
yellow cana lilies
Besides the Shaw Festival, Niagara On The Lake is best known for the outstanding flowers everywhere: beside the curb, on people's lawns, and hanging from lampposts.
orange cana lilies

Friday, July 19, 2013

"Black Day in July" by Gordon Lightfoot

Detroit is bankrupt, according to the tv news.

In 1968, Gordon Lightfoot wrote this song about the 1967 riot.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Writer's Quote of the Day

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
Cyril Connolly

Happy writing!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wordless Thursday

two new Delft owls for my desk

* original owl on book, bought in 1993

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dutch Vocabulary Lesson: Food and Drink

View from hotel room in Amsterdam
Common words on Dutch menus
SAPPEN                                             JUICES                                                                   
Sinasappelsap                                      Orange Juice
Applesap                                              Apple Juice
Grapefruitsap                                      Grapefruit Juice
Tomatensap                                        Tomato Juice
SMOOTHIES                                      SMOOTHIES
Ananas                                               Pineapple
Ardbei                                                 Strawberry
Yoghurt                                              Yogurt
Sinaasappel                                         Orange

Frisdranken                                         Soft Drinks
Chocolade                                          Chocolate
Warme Chocolademelk                     Hot Chocolate
Wijnen                                               Wines
Bier                                                    Beer
Appel                                                  Apple
Appelgebaken                                     Apple pie or tart  (one of my favourites!)
Aardappel                                           Potato
Basilicum                                            Basil
Broodjes                                              Sandwiches
Chutney                                               Relish
Chocolade Saus                                   Chocolate Sauce
Chocolade Gebaken                            Chocolate Cake
Chocolade Ijs                                      Chocolate Ice Cream
Dille                                                     Dill
Diverse Vissoorten                              Assortment of Fish
Franse Friet                                          French Fries
Gerookte Zalm                                     Smoked Salmon
Gerookte Kipfilet                                 Smoked Chicken
Geroosterde Paprika                             Roasted Bell Peppers
Gefrituurde Garnalen                           Fried Shrimps 
Garnalen Kroketjes                              Mini Prawn Croquettes
Ijs                                                         Ice Cream
Kaas                                                     Cheese
Kaastengels                                          Deep-Fried Cheese Sticks
Kreeftensalade                                     Lobster Salad 
Kaas Broodje                                       Cheese Sandwich 
Komkommer                                        Cucumber
Knoflookcroutens                                Garlic Croutons
Kippendijen                                         Chicken Thighs
Kip                                                       Chicken

Olijven                                                 Olives
Osenworst                                            Beef Sausage

Pindasaus                                             Peanut Sauce

Roomkaas                                            Cream Cheese
Rucola                                                  Arugula
Rosbief                                                 Roast Beef

Schaaldieren                                         Shellfish
Spinazie                                                Spinach
Selderij                                                 Celery
Slaagroom                                            Whipped Cream

Tomat                                                   Tomato

Uits                                                       Egg

Vanille Ijs                                             Vanilla Ice Cream
Vlamse Friet                                          Belgian Fries

Zongedroogde Tomaten-Pesto              Sundried Tomato Pesto
Zalm                                                      Salmon

Reckoning Alstublieft                           Bill, please
Zonder Slaagroom                                Without Whipped Cream (The Dutch like it on everything)


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

An Anniversary and A Dutch Treat, Part Two

Our Trip to The Netherlands

Part Two: Scheveningen

After a week in Amsterdam, we drove to Scheveningen, which is a small city on the North Sea, near The Hague. "Scheveningen" is such a hard word to pronounce and to spell, it was used as a Dutch language test for spies during World War II.

We stayed at The Kurhaus, where we also stayed on our honeymoon. The Rolling Stones played there--and were booed off the stage--in August 1964, in their first performance outside The UK. (M pointed out , "They didn't do so badly afterwards!") Stevie also played there.

We often ate at this Italian restaurant with its patio just outside the hotel.
Our room overlooked the beach and sea.
Click the photo to enlarge it.
You'll see a motorboat, a sailboat and a tall ship.

 "Which would you choose?"    ;-)

We walked through Westbroek Park and saw geese relaxing beside a pond.
Bookstores, and print books, are still very popular in The Netherlands.
The Hague is the seat of Parliament and where the new king, Willem Alexander, lives. We found some souvenirs in this covered pedestrian area, The Passage.
After a week, it was time to say goodbye to the sunset over the North Sea
and return to Amsterdam.
Last Day in Amsterdam
We had an afternoon and night in Amsterdam before flying home. We went for a walk and found some delightful shopping near our hotel, at the Nine Streets.
Bicycles and bridge on the Prinsengracht, not far from the Anne Frank House.
Mint Tower
The Pulitzer Hotel's sculpture garden
The Pulitzer Hotel is comprised of connected, renovated 17th century canal houses on the Prinsengracht and the Keizersgracht. Spanning the two canals are gardens.  It also has its own art gallery. Yes, it's the same Pulitzer family as the people who award the Pulitzer Prize.  :-)

The Rolling Stones played here, too; but more successfully than at the Kurhaus!

And so did this fellow...

Dylan in the Pulitzer bar
"Like a Rolling Stone"?
Tot ziens!

Monday, June 10, 2013

An Anniversary and A Dutch Treat!

An Anniversary and A Dutch Treat

M and I just came back from two weeks in The Netherlands, celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary.

We returned, for the first time since 1993, to the place we had our honeymoon.

Part One: Amsterdam

Amsterdam's floating flower market on the Singel canal.

After window shopping on the Bloor Street (or Fifth Avenue) of Amsterdam, P.C. Hoofstraat, we took a break here.
Our room in the Pulitzer Hotel overlooked a canal and the glass-ceilinged tour boats.
On the one rainy day, we had tea in the lobby of this stunning, newly renovated hotel. The Conservatorium was a 19th-century music conservatory. Two buildings are joined by this atrium.
Tomorrow I'll continue our tour with a look at Scheveningen, on the North Sea....
Tot ziens!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Farewell To Tulips

The tulips have finished for the season. *sob* A short but glorious season.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Terrace Tulips

Photos taken on May 9, 2013.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I won a haiku contest!

Yah! I won the Pig Haiku contest and won a copy of the YA fantasy novel, POISON, by Bridget Zinn!

To see the haiku, take a look:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Great Gatsby cover design collection

I retweeted this link, but I thought I'd put it on here, too.

Fitzgerald scholar and biographer, Matthew Bruccoli, collected covers of The Great Gatsby. His collection is on display at the University of South Carolina.

Which do you have? Which is your favourite?


Friday, March 22, 2013

To My Neighbour's Cat (Poetry Friday)

To My Neighbour's Cat

by Barbara Etlin

Last night it snowed again.

Winter had its last laugh
at people who put away
winter boots and snow shovels.

But you're an outdoor cat.
Or, at least,
Annie thinks so.

Do outdoor cats
glory in the machismo
of lying under my car
waiting until the last moment
before I start the engine?

I've seen your grey-and-white furball
sunning on Annie's kitchen windowsill
as if you were waiting to be served a drink
on your own private beach.

Do outdoor cats
meow plaintively
under the canopy
outside my front door?

Last night it snowed again...

But you're an outdoor cat.
Or, at least,
Annie thinks so.

Copyright Barbara Etlin 1997, all rights reserved

For more Poetry Friday purr-fection, check Greg Pincus's

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Barkful Wednesday

First day of Spring? Really? Someone should inform the weather!

Today is Echo's birthday.

Happy 12th birthday, Echo!

Yah! Extra treats! 

You're still younger than springtime!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

8 Fun Reasons To Visit Southern California

Eight fun things we saw on our vacation
to Santa Barbara and San Diego
that you just won't find in southern Ontario
in February:

1. Channel Islands Helicopters
Of course we had to check out the local helicopter tours! Unfortunately, they were booked up and it was our last day in Santa Barbara.

2. A gull acting as a beach patrol, Santa Barbara
You can see the Channel Islands in the distance. We didn't tour them, but we will the next time!

3. An orange tree

4. Sailboats

5. More sailboats!
Ahhhhhhh. This was my view when I wrote at my hotel. Not bad, huh?
6. Seaport Village, San Diego...
... where I almost met one of my dearest online friends for the first time. Alas, she had an urgent work deadline and couldn't make it.
  Click to enlarge the photo; the Coronado Bridge and the Hotel Coronado are in the distance, upper right.

7. Point Cabrillo, San Diego
Point Cabrillo probably has the best view of San Diego's bay. We love to just look at the ocean or the tide pools on the other side of the point.


8.  Happy Hour with Stevie!
Okay, I lied. I only had happy hour with his picture in the bar. But he sang here.
Here's looking at you, Stevie!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Eagle Owl in flight

Using a high-speed camera, the photographer captures the beauty of the eagle owl's feathers and the power of its talons.