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Archive for November, 2010

Fan Mail

I now have proof that at least two members of the target market for my book, Explore, have read it – I received my first fan letter on Saturday! Okay, so they were from my friend’s husband’s Grade 7 class – he has them read it as part of their Reading Circle (I know, adorable), but still, they’re two kids that wrote to me enthusiastically about my book, so I’m counting it as a fan letter. Hee hee. And when my friend presented it to me when she visited us this weekend from Prince George, well, let’s just say, it warmed the cockles of my heart to no end. It’s so cute, I can hardly stand it.

I’m so totally going to write back to them.

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Celebratin’

Okay, so remember this post from all those months ago? (Well, about four months ago, to be exact.) Back then I was burning the midnight oil to get the darn book finished, and… it all paid off! Today at 4:50pm, just as I had Keaton all bundled up in his stroller, ready to head out for some groceries, the phone rang. It was a 250 area code number that I didn’t recognize, so I didn’t pick up. But then I thought, “Wait a minute, it’s a 250 number!” A glimmer flashed into my brain that maybe, just maybe, it might be my publisher. So, with poor Keaton waiting so patiently for me, I checked the message. And yes, there was the voice of my editor: “Hi Christy, it’s Melanie from Orca Book Publishers…” And as she was saying this, I thought, Okay, it’s 4:50pm on Friday. It couldn’t be bad news, could it? “Since you’re not there,” she continued on the message, “I’ll send you an email with the good news.”

So, to make a long story somewhat short – Orca Book Publishers will be publishing Farmed Out in Fall 2011. Oh, you should have seen me leaping around in the hallway!

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My First Baby Quilt

Well, it’s my first quilt, period. Actually, I think my grandma may helped me make a doll quilt when I was about eight, but the details are a bit fuzzy.  It’s for a dear friend, whose baby was (key word: was – about to be explained in the next paragraph) due December 22nd. It’s inspired by the Country Quilt in Alicia Paulson’s Embroidery Companion, except that instead of embroidered farmyard animals and calico fabric, I’m doing blackbirds with green polka-dotted, deep blue and black fabric squares. Kinda like a goth baby quilt, I guess. My friend is inspired by all things dark and fantastical, like demons and raven lore and bats. I’m embroidering six white squares with blackbirds, first (five of those, and one with the baby’s name, not yet known), and then I’ll tackle cutting and sewing and quilting all the rest. Good thing I bought a rotary cutter on supersale at Fabricland!

Today, I got a text message that my friend was in the hospital, having the baby more than five weeks early. Mom and baby are fine, but this early arrival is a big surprise! Throughout the day I received more texts reporting on her progress (last I heard, she was well into active labour), so in the morning I’m expecting to hear the exciting news. This evening, I felt it perfectly fitting to pick up the embroidery after a few days’ busy-related hiatus, and do some stitchin’. The whole time I thought about my friend going through this amazing process of birth, breathing through those contractions. With every stitch I thought of her in her hospital room, surrounded by her midwife and husband and all that support. I just kept thinking, this baby quilt is being made for someone who’s in the hospital right now, right this minute, having her baby. How thrilling, how exciting!

I guess I’d better get crack-a-lackin’ on the rest of the quilt! Wish me luck!

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Featuring my favourite spaces and places in my beloved neighbourhood – Vancouver’s beautiful, wacky, wonderful West End.

Our local greasy spoon diner Joe’s Grill is like our Cheers – where everybody knows our name (well, actually, they call Josh and I “The Happy Couple”) and they’re always glad we came. We’ve been regulars there for about four years now, I think (it’s so hard to keep track!), and over that time Joe’s has taken up a very special place in our hearts. It’s like our church, or our community centre, our sacred weekly ritual (and on a good week, more than once!). They even have Keaton’s birth announcement taped to the wall above the kitchen service counter, for heaven’s sakes.

At Joe’s, the food is great (Avocado & Tomato Benny, anyone? And Josh swears by the Egg Burrito), the coffee is good and plentiful, the hot sauce is the best, the cooks are smiley and nice, and the servers? Gad, they are the best. The absolute best in town. We exchange Christmas cards and candies, and they all chipped in to buy us a baby present when Keaton was born. We went there on Keaton’s first birthday (how could we not?), and they served him a special bowl of birthday blueberries. When we went on Halloween (again, how could we not?), they had a pair of Halloween socks, ready to give Keaton.

We have seriously never had a bad experience there, which is unusual in the world of cafes and diners. We’ve never had to wait an inordinately long time for a table, even during busy times, never had a snippy server, and never had a food order go wrong.

It’s the Joe’s Grill magic, I tell you.

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Post-Hallowe’en Post

Once a majestic mini-pumpkin (carved beautifully as a jack-o-lantern for Sir Keats by his Auntie Tara), now a withered post-Hallowe’en pumpkin. *sigh*

Okay, so some White Spot coleslaw got in the way of my and Josh’s carefully orchestrated plans for Hallowe’en fun this year. Or at least, we think it was the coleslaw that did it. But poor Josh just wasn’t feeling so great on Saturday night. We had planned to drive Keaton out to Maple Ridge, where my mum was going to take care of him for the evening while Josh and I went to a grown-up party in North Vancouver. (To be honest, when the time came, going all that way and back did seem like a bit of a hassle. Perhaps all things happen for a reason.) So, Josh stayed home and Keaton and I went to my friend’s kid-friendly party downtown. Good times. My little devil flirted with a little girl dressed up like a cat.

But my point is, I love Hallowe’en. I love dressing up. I love costumes. I wish I could dress up every day. How ironic then, that my costume was so badly put together this year. It was like I spent more time on the idea than on the actual execution. I’m not going to reveal what it was, though, because I think I’ll just recycle it next year. Ha!

And now, I pack up my orange feather boa wreath on the door, and my spooky candle holders. So long, Hallowe’en. See you again next year.

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