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October 31, 2007

If I speak in the tongues of men . . .

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

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October 28, 2007

The worst part . . .

The worst part about traveling is the time spent in airports waiting to either board a flight or deplane. Our flight to Seattle leaves in a couple of hours but due to international regulations we have to arrive at least two hours in advance to clear customs and check our baggage. In order to pass the time, I’m posting a handful of photos of the flora and fauna we took in Kauai.

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Farewell Hawaii

Our one week vacation has come to an end. The chicken family will be flying home tomorrow evening. We spent our last full day at the beach playing in the water and absorbing as much local colour as possible. Below are some of our favourite moments from the past few days …

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Getting ready for my birthday dinner at Dondero’s

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A birthday wish.

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Sharing mommy’s birthday cake.

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Hurry up mommy.

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So much to see and do.

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Last day at the beach.

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Daddy crocodile playing with EM.

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Quiet time with EM and Xine.

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October 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 28 - Aloha from Kaua'i

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Hard to believe that it’s been one week since my last post. It’s also hard to believe that we’re on the beautiful island of Kauai. Today is my 40th birthday and we’re celebrating by doing ABSOLUTELY nothing but enjoying the lush surroundings and taking advantage of all that the Grand Hyatt has to offer. We’ve taken so many photos that it was hard just to choose thirteen. We’ve managed to enjoy the sunny weather and the beaches without getting burnt … and I’ve managed to sneak in a couple of spa treatments, including a fabulous pedicure … Wish you were here enjoying a Mai Tai (or two) with us!

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The view from the bar (where children are allowed until 10:00 p.m.)

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Dev and our chicken enjoying the salt water lagoon.

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My birthday pedicure.

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EM at the seashore.

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A mother-daughter moment (at the Seaview Terrace)

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Children’s Hula show - our official welcome to the resort on Tuesday evening.

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EM and Xine sightseeing.

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The view from here.

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A much needed nap.

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Why would anyone want to leave the grounds?

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Why do I have to eat breakfast? It’s not fair.

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Daily Koi feeding activity for children.

13. EM and Xine in water.jpg
More fun in the water.

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October 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 27 - 13 tropes, schemes and figures of speech

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We’re expecting a fierce wind-storm this evening. I’ve retired to my bedroom with a large cup of lavender earl gray tea and am listening to rain. I’m feeling rather words-y tonight … and so it’s my pleasure to bring you 13 tropes and schemes (figures of speech) for my 27th Thursday Thirteen. Enjoy!

1. Anaphora: A scheme in which the same word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences. “I will fight for you. I will fight to save Social Security. I will fight to raise the minimum wage.”

2. Anastrophe: A scheme in which normal word order is changed for emphasis. “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

3. Apostrophe: A scheme in which a person or an abstract quality is directly addressed, whether present or not. “Freedom! You are a beguiling mistress.”

4. Epistrophe: A scheme in which the same word is repeated at the end of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences. “I believe we should fight for justice. You believe we should fight for justice. How can we not, then, fight for justice?”

5. Hyperbole: A trope composed of exaggerated words or ideals used for emphasis and not to be taken literally. “I’ve told you a million times not to call me a liar!”

6. Irony: A trope in which a word or phrase is used to mean the opposite of its literal meaning. “I just love scrubbing the floor.”

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7. Litotes: A trope in which one makes a deliberate understatement for emphasis. Example: Young lovers are kissing and an observer says: “I think they like each other.”

8. Metonymy: A trope that substitutes an associated word for one that is meant. Example: Using “top brass” to refer to military officers.

9. Oxymoron: A trope that connects two contradictory terms. “Bill is a cheerful pessimist.”

10. Periphrasis: A trope in which one substitutes a descriptive word or phrase for a proper noun. “The big man upstairs hears your prayers.”

11. Rhetorical Question: A trope in which the one asks a leading question. “With all the violence on TV today, is it any wonder kids bring guns to school?”

12. Synecdoche: A trope in which a part stands for the whole. “Tom just bought a fancy new set of wheels.”

13. Zeugma: A trope in which one verb governs several words, or clauses, each in a different sense. “He stiffened his drink and his spine.”

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October 16, 2007

Countdown to Kauai . . . 5 more sleeps

We’re heading out to the verdant island of Kauai next week for a family vacation: Dev, the chicken and me. We’ll be staying at the Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa for a glorious seven days.

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October 13, 2007

Do you know Clara?

Cupcakes for Clara on Etsy has me wanting to buy everything in stock. With Christmas just around the corner (or so it seems), I am making my list (checking it twice) and scanning the web for charming, handmade, whimsical treasures.

A bluebird stuffie:

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Kitten finger puppets:

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Of new writing, the interview and fresh eggs

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I asked my amazing and talented friend Thomma-Lyn to interview me (and she gratefully obliged) based on the intelligent, sensitive and thought-provoking responses she gave to Julia’s questions. I’ve decided to turn the answers to these questions into longer pieces of non-fiction prose grouped together in a new section of my blog, called Fresh Eggs. Thomma-Lyn’s questions have motivated me to go deeper and share more about my life and writing process than I normally would. And so, dear readers (and TL) I beg your indulgence and patience as I take the coming week or so to answer these questions more fully. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll enjoy the results.

The questions:

1. Tell me about chickens. Which came first, your little girl Chicken or the literary Chicken-scratch? And what, for you, is the symbolism of each and in what way do the two Chickens tie together for you?

2. Discuss how you feel about this quote by John Gardner: “Fiction that lasts tends to be ‘moral,’ that is, it works with a minimum of cynical manipulation and it tends to reach affirmations favorable rather than opposed to life.”

3. If you could travel back to the Byzantine era, when and where would you go, who would you most like to meet, and why?

4. As a fiction writer, are you more of a plotter, a panster (flying by the seat of your pants), or a bit of both? Describe your thoughts on method.

5. Tell me about a couple of the strongest recurring themes that run throughout the fiction you write.

This is an interview meme, so if you’d like to be interviewed by me and post the answers on your blog, let me know.

Here’s the how:

1. Leave a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. Please make sure I have your email address.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment, asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

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October 12, 2007

it's been a tough work week

And this is where I’d rather be …

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travel, mixed messages and romance - what else could a gal ask for?

My October 2007 horoscope courtesy of Astrology Zone.

In the coming month, you’d do well to step back and reassess your life. Only by stepping off the merry-go-round can you see how far you’ve come and decide where you’d like to take things next. While you take your schedule down to a more manageable pace, consider taking a trip overseas. You appear to be entering an important phase, one that will help you develop important contacts and interests abroad. If you’ve not yet acquired a set of luggage that you like, consider doing so soon, for between now and the middle of May of 2008 it will be getting quite a workout.

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If you can’t actually leave town, Mars’ angle to Mercury suggests lots of communication will go back and forth with one or more people at a distance no matter what, whether on your BlackBerry, computer, fax, or iPhone. Keep in mind that Mercury will be retrograde, so everyone will be more susceptible to misunderstandings. Go the extra mile to be sure that the messages you send are clear and accurate.

A close relationship is about to see a serious commitment at the full moon, October 26. You may get engaged for your birthday, choose a wedding day, or actually wed. Sign with a business partner to advance a venture. Saturn will be prominent, so you can be sure the tie you make will be one that lasts. Mercury will be retrograde this month, so you may want to wait until the new moon November 9 to actually sign, but there is no harm in holding talks.
If you are single, Neptune will switch on 100,000 watts in your house of romance on October 31. Even if you’ve been disappointed with love in the past - this time, give love second chance. You’re never too old to fall head over heels all over again.

Creative ideas also will get a big boost at month’s end. Present an idea, have an interview or presentation, and get the kind of approvals from VIPs that you used to only dream about!

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facts that make you go hmmm . . .

* Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

* People spend about two weeks of their lives at traffic lights!

* The ant, when intoxicated, will always fall over to its right side.

* In comic strips, the person on the left always speaks first.

* A snail can sleep for three years.

* 90 per cent of New York City cabbies are recent immigrants.

* Turtles can breathe through their butts.

* Pearls melt in vinegar.

* You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.

* Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.

* Most lipstick contains fish scales.

* Rats destroy an estimated 1/3 of the world’s food supply each year.

* The Mall in Washington, D.C. is 1.4 times larger than Vatican City.

* 7 per cent of Americans are currently in prison. Wow!

For more strange stats and facts visit Stunning Stuff.

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October 10, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 26 – 13 creative writing prompts to fuel your imagination.

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Use these prompts to create stories, poems and generate creative content for your blog.

1. Imagine your life is now a book blurb. In 100 words or less, tell us why we should buy your book.
2. Write about the “fickle finger of fate.”
3. In 200 words describe a hot day.
4. Write about a task, job or chore you dislike.
5. List 15 simple pleasures. Pick one and write about it.
6. Write about a memory related to a holiday.

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7. What is your greatest fear?
8. Write about a habit that’s hard to break.
9. Write about what you do on a rainy day in 250 words or less.
10. List 9 good reasons to break off an engagement or call off a wedding.
11. List 10 things you would buy with your last $20.
12. Come up with 10 reasons you should skip bathing this week.
13. Write from the point of view of a freshly scrubbed floor.

For hundreds more creative writing prompts, go here.

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October 8, 2007

40 things about me: part two

For part one, go here.

21. I am an online news junkie. Much of my inspiration for my writing comes from stories like this one: brides for dead men.
22. I enjoy finding the connections between things and discovering the relationship between disparate ideas. I am drawn to religious symbols and archetypes - particularly the lives of Saints.
23. I am superstitious, believe in karma and the evil eye.
24. I used to keep a dream journal.
25. I am terrified of roller coasters.
26. I’ve always wanted to learn how to fly a plane.
27. I love the ocean and have always lived close to the water.
28. I have a deep fascination with both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
29. Kingdom of Heaven is one of my favourite movies.
30. I used to be terrified of Halloween.
31. Ofra Haza is one of my favourite singers. I never tire of watching Prince of Egypt with EM as Ofra is the voice of Moses’ mother.
32. I can’t wait to take EM to Disneyland (the one in Anaheim, Ca).
33. I am also drawn to the desert. I love spending time in Arizona and New Mexico.
34. I would love to spend an extended sabbatical in Greece: writing, exploring, relaxing and truly living the Greek way - like my old friend, Alexis Zorba.
35. Freida Kahlo’s life and art move me deeply. I am especially drawn to this painting:

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36. I applied to attend and was accepted into the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. My parents wanted me to go to a traditional university and so I did. Surprisingly, I took no art studio classes while at Uni. My degree is in English Lit.
37. I was the yearbook editor in high-school. In my final year, I spent most of my free time in the darkroom.
38. I would be happy in an atelier or studio, creating my own beautiful objects without interference from the noisy outside world.
39. Life without beauty is my idea of hell.
40. My last name in Greek means “one who is crowned.”

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October 7, 2007

The Art of Googling Oneself

Found on someecards.com “for when you care enough to hit send”

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Sunday Morning Diversion: Art Quiz

You Are Expressionism
Moody, emotional, and even a bit angsty… you certainly know how to express your emotions.
At times, you tend to lack perspective on your life, probably as a result of looking inward too much.
This introspection does give you a flair for the dramatic. And it’s even maybe made you cultivate some artistic talents!
You have a true artist’s temperament… which is a blessing and a curse.

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October 4, 2007

Nemo: Lost

We’ve had our fish tank for about a month now and three of the original six fish have disappeared. They were either abducted by aliens or devoured by our bright orange mollie. A quick Google search confirmed our suspicions. Mollies will definitely eat live foods. Translation: anything smaller than our 1 1/2 inch mollie with an easy-going temperament is fair game. Our small tetras didn’t stand a chance.

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October 3, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 25 - 13 quotes from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Whenever I feel the need to reassess my life, I turn inward and pick up one of my favourite books: The Little Prince. For this week’s Thursday Thirteen, I bring you 13 quotes in French and English from this priceless gem.

1. Les grandes personnes ne comprennent jamais rien toutes seules, et c’est fatigant, pour les enfants, de toujours et toujours leur donner des explications.

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

2. Quand le mystère est trop impressionnant, on n’ose pas désobéir.

When a mystery is too overpowering, one dare not disobey.

3. La preuve que le petit prince a existé c’est qu’il était ravissant, qu’il riait, et qu’il voulait un mouton. Quand on veut un mouton, c’est la preuve qu’on existe.

The proof that the little prince existed is that he was charming, that he laughed, and that he was looking for a sheep. If anybody wants a sheep, that is a proof that he exists.

4. Mais les graines sont invisibles. Elles dorment dans le secret de la terre jusqu’à ce qu’il prenne fantaisie à l’une d’elles de se réveiller…

But seeds are invisible. They sleep deep in the heart of the earth’s darkness, until some one among them is seized with the desire to awaken.

5. Il ne faut jamais écouter les fleures. Il faut les regarder et les respirer. La mienne embaumait ma planète, mais je ne savais pas m’en réjouir.

One never ought to listen to the flowers. One should simply look at them and breathe their fragrance. Mine perfumed all my planet. But I did not know how to take pleasure in all her grace.

6. Tu as des cheveux couleur d’or. Alors ce sera merveilleux quand tu m’aura apprivoisé! Le blé, qui est doré, me fera souvenir de toi. Et j’aimerai le bruit du vent dans le blé…

You have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…

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7. On ne connaît que les choses que l’on apprivoise, dit le renard. Les hommes n’ont plus le temps de rien connaître. Il achètent des choses toutes faites chez les marchands. Mais comme il n’existe point de marchands d’amis, les hommes n’ont plus d’amis. Si tu veux un ami, apprivoise-moi!

“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me…”

8. Le langage est source de malentendus.

Words are the source of misunderstandings.

9. Voici mon secret. Il est très simple : on ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

10. C’est le temps que tu as perdu pour ta rose qui fait ta rose si importante.

It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.

11. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé. Tu es responsable de ta rose…

You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…

12. - Les enfants seuls savent ce qu’ils cherchent, fit le petit prince. Ils perdent du temps pour une poupée de chiffons, et elle devient très importante, et si on la leur enlève, ils pleurent…

“Only the children know what they are looking for,” said the little prince. “They waste their time over a rag doll and it becomes very important to them; and if anybody takes it away from them, they cry…”

13. Ce qui embellit le désert, dit le petit prince, c’est qu’il cache un puits quelque part…

“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well…”

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October 2, 2007

The Letter Project

Do you know someone who would enjoy receiving a missive through the post? Perhaps you’re the one who is tired of e-mail and longs to read a personal, hand-written letter ? Look no further than the letter project. Rick has been writing and sending letters through the post to anyone who asks. Here’s why he writes:

Not so long ago, letters were central to our lives. Through the written word we connected in a special and intimate way. We waited with anticipation for the postman to bring news, encouragement, support, love and caring words from those far away from us. A letter is similar to a chapter in a book, written especially for you. Today, we dash off sentiments using email, cell phones, instant or text messaging. We transmit ideas, yet — in mechanically dispensed and flavorless servings. Letters can be savored, folded up and stashed away in a pocket or handbag to be re-read whenever we wish. A letter connects us with its writer.

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Playing Along with Red - Portrait Study

Found on Red’s blog.

Who Should Paint You: Andy Warhol
You’ve got an interested edge that would be reflected in any portrait
You don’t need any fancy paint techniques to stand out from the crowd!

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40 things about me – part one

As I am turning 40 at the end of this month and I’ve been blogging for 10 months (!), I thought it’d be a good idea to share a little bit about me (especially as I’ve been posting so infrequently these past few weeks). So here goes:

1. A natural communicator, I am currently working for the provincial government in public relations.
2. I am happiest when I am left alone to write, paint or draw.
3. While I am by nature gregarious, I do need solitude.
4. I live my life out loud: I laugh loudly and often; I express my feelings and opinions freely; I also cry with abandon. Life is to be experienced in all its glorious messiness.
5. I have been known to cocoon in bed for extended periods of time, shades drawn and covers over my head, especially if I am feeling blue or out of sorts.
6. I have always been a voracious reader. I read anything and everything.
7. While I am a founding member of a book club, I find the “club” aspect annoying. Now that it’s too organized and structured, I’ve lost interest.
8. I am rebellious. Telling me “I have or should do” something makes me disagreeable and cranky. I will, more often than not, do the exact opposite.
9. My father nurtured my independent streak.
10. I love Greek music from the 1950s. Listening to songs from that era sends shivers down my spine.
11. I love my daughter EM more than life itself. She is my greatest joy and blessing.

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12. I now understand the love my beloved Mama had for me.
13. My husband is my soul mate; he often completes my sentences and knows exactly what I’m thinking.
14. Nothing can compare to falling asleep in his arms.
15. I still think about the drummer and wonder if he ever grew up.
16. I still think about the chronic pot-smoker and wonder if he ever grew up.
17. Growing up my parents filled my head and heart with their stories. Now that they’re both gone I think about all they didn’t share.
18. When I get very upset, I stutter.
19. I’m a hand talker.
20. I am 15 pounds away from my goal weight. I used to be bulimic in my early 20s. I am finally on friendly terms with the bathroom scale.

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Guess who's turning 40 this month?

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