Monday, 30 March 2009

Hearing voices...

drizzle, misty, windy cool, temps plus 4

Typical early spring day. Still expecting some sort of snowfall - always get one in the spring - sometimes as late as May. traditionally we don't put out any annual flowers until after the May 24th long weekend (celebrating Queen Victoria in Canada) - because there's still a danger of frost before that! So, we're a long way off real spring yet.

But even the rain is welcome. So great to see the grass and the earth. And to smell the earth. Always the sweeter for having had the snow.

Ran around doing chores this afternoon. Met Nancy in Knowlton, then back to Sutton to pick up and mail some photographs. Did other mails here in Canada then scooted across the border to mail the things going to the states. Listened to music the whole way and thought about the book, and came up with ideas...some for the scene I just wrote...some for the next couple of scenes.

Lili de GRandpre, who reads the books for French mistakes called. She's finished book 5 - THE BRUTAL TELLING. So I need to pick it up at a shop in town which we use as a 'drop'.

cowansville day tomorrow - breakfast. Then back home and more writing. This book, set in Quebec City, is going well. Am in the middle third now and that always gets a little confusing...mostly to do with pacing. Not completely confident I'm unveiling clues at the right pace, and answering questions at the right pace or place, either. That's the sort of thing I only really can tell when the first draft is done.

Had a wonderful, starred, review in Publishers Weekly for the audio verison of A RULE AGAINST MURDER. The US version. It's read by Ralph Cosham and apparently he's fabulous. I can't listen because it doesn't match up to the voice in my head.

Take care, be well.

Sunday, 29 March 2009


rainy, cool, temps 3

Dreary day, but nice to sit by the fire and write. That's all I want to do now. And when I'm not writing I just want to sit in front of the television and veg out. Become mindless.

Yesterday was gorgeous, so Trudy and I went for a nice long walk through the forest, before I remembered about the bears. And the bear stick I'd left at home.

So we left. But this is a great time to walk through the woods - before the leaves come out and it's impassable.

A lovely Australian woman, Kerrie, is holding a draw for the UK version of THE CRUELLEST MONTH. If you're interested you might go to her blog at:

hope that works!

Had the best dinner with Susan at the cottage last night. Chicken curry. Yum!!! And she gave us a brioche loaf made by a baker in the village - which we ate most of this morning for breakfast. it was disgusting for anyone watching. Happily it was only Trudy and the birds.

Golf on TV this afternoon and a few phone calls I need to make. Still feeling behind, but not quite so frantic. Just need to keep up a steady pace. As long as the writing is going well, and it is, then the day is pretty well made. The rest pales.

But it also makes the blogs really, really dull since all I can think of is the book, the characters, who now seem more real than real people, and the action. I have no interest in the outside world. Thank God Michael's at the same stage with his book. We're happily oblivious hermits together.

Friday, 27 March 2009


foggy, rainy, mild temps plus 4

Very atmospheric. Love days like this. Everything outside smells musky and sweet. A real spring day. Snow almost gone...just sticking around where the plow created piles - now melted to strips.

CBC Radio and Television got word yesterday of specific cuts. Dreadful. Terrible for the people who work there, and work so hard. And terrible for Canada. The CBC is a gem, a treasure. It hasn't always done a great job, it's sometimes gone astray. Some management decisions were short-sighted, self-serving, ridiculous. Mostly when it's decided to compete with private broadcasters. In my view the CBC is uniquely placed to take chances, to do things that will get little audience but is vital to Canada - like bringing the regions to the attention of the whole.

But overall, the CBC is wonderful - and is often inspired. I think a number of 'institutions' distinguish Canada. Universal health care, the railway, and the CBC. Each built on a social-democratic philosophy...where the individual matters, and can be accomodated within a strong whole.

Sadly, each of those foundations, so strong in the 60's and 70's - has been worn away.

It was horrible to be in contact yesterday with my friends and former colleagues at CBC and hear their anguish. Canada needs a strong, fearless (sometimes flawed), public broadcaster, that has the courage of its convictions. And these people work so hard, for little money (you don't get rich by working for the public broadcaster), to bring Canadians their own stories. Private stations also do a terrific job, but their mandate is different...pretty much to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. The CBC's mandate is to reflect Canada to Canadians.

Enough. But I feel so strongly about this. I joined CBC in my early 20's - traveled across the country, living in differnt regions, because I believed in the philosophy. And wanted to know my country. And it breaks my heart to see people who have worked so hard, often thanklessly, treated so badly.

Anyway - Susan's coming this weekend. Staying in the cottage. Will be here for a bbq dinner. Really looking forward to seeing her! Off for breakfast and to do some chores.

Speak tomorrow.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


sunny, mild, temps plus 6

Stunning day. Took Trudy around the pond. Ice still on it, but last of snow melting, just hanging on in the shade. Ice at the slightly dangerous stage where you might fall through if you walk on it. Trying not to let the tennis ball bounce onto the ice and have Trudy go after it! She did a few days ago, and made it, but not so sure now. so we don't throw it in that area anymore.

Lots of writing today.

Had a nightmare last night. A Mummy was chasing me. Let me guess what that might mean...

The permissions have all been figured out - just one more cheque to write and need to get wording to the editors. Will do that this afternoon. Sending off Jpeg etc for an event at a Barnes and Noble in Annapolis in early May. If you live in the area love to see you there.

Feeling a little overwhelmed. Have realized if I don't keep on top of everything, everyday I can get so far behind. And just when I think I have done it all, another five requests come in. I bet that sounds familiar. The human condition these days. I need, sometimes, to stop and realize this is all good. Lots of details, but it means I'm involved in life, filling my days with things I'm passionate about. How great is that? And yet, some days, I can just see it as chores.

Life is perception - at least, mine is.

Hope your perception is sunny and warm and cheery. And optomistic.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Mr Magoo

brilliant sunshine, normal high for this time of year - plus 3

Most of the snow from the mini-storm Sunday has gone. We're back home in sutton now - just arrived. Unpacking. Just received a fun email from agent, Teresa in UK to say book 3 - The Cruelest Month - got a fab review in Germany. In a publication called Focus, which is apparently huge in Germany. She sent me the link. Now, my German's a little rusty but I believe it says:

Louise Penny is the finest writer the world has ever seen and the only really criminal act is that she hasn't yet won the Pulitzer or Nobel Prize.

OK - that might not be an exact translation. And, by "exact" I mean "wild guess" and by "translation" I mean "fantasy". Though, as fantasy it is totally accurate. But according to the German publisher, the review is excellent and they're very happy. The book is called Der Grausame Monat in German, which, roughly translated means, 'Louise Penny is gorgeous'. And by "rough" I mean 'Not at all accurate" and we already know what "translated" means.

Picked up some baseball caps put out by the SPCA in Mtl, and sponsored by a cool Montreal boutique on Sherbrooke Street called Ben et Tournesol. We dropped by this morning. There we met Mr. Magoo. Mr. Magoo is a chihuahua rescued from a Quebec puppy mill. He's not only blind, but he has no eyes at all. He was rescued a few weeks ago by the SPCA and the owners of Ben and Tournesol, along with 80 other dogs. John, who runs the store, fosters rescued dogs (one at a time) in his store and when they're ready he helps find them a good home. The store is, as I say, a really fun boutique selling all sorts of fun, designer things...nothing to do with dogs or pets. Except the rescue puppy du jour...or du mois.

So it was Mr Magoo's (their name for him)turn.

John and the store had the SPCA caps made up at their own expense and all the money from sales goes to the SPCA to fight puppy mills. So we bought 4. And will be giving out 2 in the April newsletter. Am also going to contact John to see how we might do something similar for the SPCA Monteregie down in my area...they're also fighting puppy mills, and are also always in desperate need of support.

So, if you haven't signed up for the newsletter yet, now's a good time. The baseball cap is terrific quality, with an SPCA logo on the back and large circle in the front with Puppy Mill written in it and a slash through the words. Very simple and effective.

Take sure is nice to be home.

Sunday, 22 March 2009


heavy snow, mild, temps minus 3

Wouldn't you know it? The day we're supposed to drive in to Montreal there's a mini-storm. However, it's possible it's only really snowing here, on our mountain top. We find that quite often. We'll be in the middle of a blizzard, get in the car and one mile away the bananas are on the trees. Sort of. But I bet by the time we're in Cowansville this will have disappeared.

Did lots of writing yesterday. Am in a difficult part of the book, making transitions...we'll see how it goes. for me it's important not to go back and edit, but to do some smoothing perhaps but mostly to keep moving forward and trust in the re-write stage, when the first draft is finished. So far that's worked. And I know that I can be a harsh and sometimes unfair critic. I think something's not working when in fact it is. And sometimes I need to finish the book to see how certain sections fit in.

But, it all means I'm not just in effect writing the same book over and over - but stretching. Want to give you the same feel, and many of the same characters and settings as previous books - but also need to 'change it up'. Hate to get 'cookie-cutter'.

Sad about Jade Goody. We followed her quite startling career...and now her death so young. But a great lesson, as she herself said, in the vital importance of getting Pap smears for cervical cancer.

We're off to the city - taking the car in for a tune up. Taking Michael in for a tune-up. Eyes and Urologist. Just routine. And to sign the lease on our new apartment. such fun. Busy day tomorrow, but good to do.

Be well.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Happy Spring

sunny, chilly, temps about freezing

Had a wonderful dinner last night with Linda, Bal and Bethany. Thank God they're great cooks...their dinner at our place a few days earlier was mediocre...except Michael's amazing barbequed steaks.

Happy Spring and Equinox by the way.

Wrote a lot today...such a gift to have a day just to ourselves. But writing a section I think that's not so good. Still, with luck, by this time next year it won't stink. Everything's a process.

Am downloading Fiddler on the Roof - to exercise to. Haven't heard it in years. This listening to iPod while exercising is brilliant!

Off to make lunch for The Big Guy - who is also writing. Then down into the basement, which is pretty much our General Store, to see if we have enough left over times to do the kitchen in the new rental. Don't need much, the room's the size of my desk. We've signed a 2 year lease and since home's important to us we've discovered it's worthwhile to do some things that make the apartment feel like home. Otherwise I feel I'm just perching, or visiting.

So, we'll paint, put up crown molding and might, as I say, do some tiling in kitchen.

Had a fun meeting with Lise yesterday. doing some scheming, which I'll tell you about in a few weeks.

Hope you're enjoying yourself today. And are at peace and content.

Thursday, 19 March 2009


overcast, cool, temps plus 3

Breezy and damp today. Not actually raining but that cold that settles into the bones. It's about 3pm now - I'm just back from Montreal. Had to do a quick trip to the dentist then into CBC for the pilot. They've done a splendid job! I think what the produicers have done is brilliant - and sure made my job as host easy. Sadly, as I've mentioned, CBC is facing huge budget cuts and this would be more expensive than getting a staff announcer to spin disks. But, we'll see.

Michael and I were approached by the Crime Writer's Association in the UK to sponsor this year's John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger - given out to Best First Crime Novel in the UK. It's an award I won a few years ago for Still Life. It didn't take much thought. We said yes. I'll tell you, there is such a mountain of indebtedness following me it sure feels good to pay back some of it, especially to a crime writer just starting out. I know how it feels.

Lise is coming by this afternoon for a meeting of our military-industrial complex. Pretty much to discuss mugs and taxes.

Then off to the guest cottage for dinner with Linda, Bal and Bethany. Bethany's written another story and asked me to read it out loud to everyone over dinner here the other night. I got about halfway through (it's really surprisingly terrific)and realized I was a little tired, so asked if we could put off reading the rest until tonight. Looking forward to seeing what happens in her story.

She's 13 and writing stories - for fun. Remember those days? How wonderful. And she had great parents who encourage her, and given her their time.

Feel horrible for Natasha Richardson - and her family. Especially, of course, her sons. Terrible.

Tomorrow, just writing. Phew.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Perking away

overcast, showers off and on, temps plus 7

Well, seems Spring wasn't kidding. Normally we can expect a couple of crippling snow storms in March, but this year, it's many sunny and warm. We'll take it! I can see the daffodils peeking out already...just little green sprouts...but there. Also out are the house flies and lady bugs, and these huge bugs that look like something out of Starship Troopers. Armoured, long, thick legs. they make a buzzing sound - very loud - when they fly around. Happily they don't bite. It's more an emotional attack. They scare you to death.

We had Bal, Linda and Bethany over last night for dinner. Tony had set up the barbeque and Michael did us steak. Wonderful. perfectly cooked. Bal and Linda are like family so it was pretty relaxed. I did little potatoes, asperagus, salad and frozen yoghurt and chocolate sauce for dessert. We talked a lot about writing since Bal's writing a book and 13 year-old Bethany writes amazing, creative, short stories - when she isn't daydreaming about Joe Jonas. I'll tell you, Joe can do worse - though he might want to wait 5 years.

I don't think Bethany's impressed by the bug population at the guest cottage.

Eric, his partner Erin - from Montreal - and Joanni from the Yamaska Literacy Council came by this afternoon, after I'd done the writing for the day - to record some more narrative for the film on literacy. That was easy - and fun to see them again. They set up the studio in the dining room...and if you ever see the film you might hear Trudy mumbling for attention in the background.

Tomorrow I'm heading in to Montreal in the morning. Have studio time at CBC at 12:30 to record part of the pilot for the proposed national radio programme this summer. Script arrived Monday night. It sounds really fun...but CBC doesn't have much money and this might be a pricy show, so we'll see.

then scooting home for a meeting with Lise at 3:30 - and then next door for dinner with Bal, Linda and Bethany. Nice not to have to cook ourselves. And such a pleasure speaking time with them.

Writing going well. Am at 25,000 words, or so. About 1/4 or 1/5th of the way along. and I know where I'm going, which is refreshing.

Watching the Natasha Richardson situation. Hope she's all right.

Take care - not sure if I'll have time to blog tomorrow. By the way, Trudy seems to have perked up. For the first time we've allowed her up on our bed...that actually perked us up too!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Thank you

sunny, warm, temps plus 4

I want to thank each and every one of you who wrote to comfort us in our grief over Maggie. Thank you! I cannot tell you how much that has helped. Most of the messages reduced us to tears - of sorrow - but also gratitude. For your kindness, and for Maggie's company. As one neighbour wrote us, she was a brave girl.

I won't say more about how we're feeling about Maggie. I think you know. But I want to make sure you know how deeply grateful Michael and I both are for your words, your thoughts, your support and comfort.

Great syrup waeather today. Tony's going to boil down his sap tomorrow afternoon. Our friends at the guest cottage, Linda, Bal and their daughter Bethany will be invited to watch - and maybe help. Then they're coming over tomorrow night for a simple dinner. Barbeque steaks. Tony set up the BBQ for us today. What a help he is.

Wrote this morning, and spent some time this afternoon on the permissions again! Who'd have thought it would be more challenging that writing the actual book. Certainly more stressful.

spent 20 min. on the torture device. Gary dropped by yesterday and suggested using the ipod while exercising...great idea. Did that and it helps...but am torn about what music to listen to. Like eating favorite food when ill...then never being able to eat it again!

Am off...bath time.

Thank you, again.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Maggie - happy and whole, at last

Mainly sunny, warm - lovely day. temps plus 4

We had to put Maggie down this morning. There was no decision to be made, it was clearly the only thing to do. So hard, but so right. And there's comfort in that. And now she's with Bonnie and Seamus, running on four legs. And thanking us, I know, for letting her go.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Old Dog, New Sicks

Sunny, mild, temps minus 2

Beautiful day - again, feels and smells like spring.

maggie poorly again this morning. Didn't eat her breakfast, went outside but didn't want to go far...then this afternoon she didn't move at all. We finally coaxed her outside, but she didn't do anything, and we had to carry her in.

If she's like this tomorrow morning we'll call the vet. They're closed weekends but are wonderful and have an emergency number they respond to in minutes.

We're thinking this might be a result of taking her twice around the pond yesterday. I probably shouldn't have taken her that second time. It might have been too much. Hope it's just that and she simply needs a day to recover. But it's scary. We go in to the kitchen and lie down beside her, stroke her and tell her what a good girl she is. Every now and then her tail thumps.

No dinner tonight, but she did take a little water an hour ago.

One thing I do know - she's in good hands. Not ours - who are fumbling and bumbling and filled with more care than sense - but hands that look after, and over, sick animals. Hands more sure than ours.

But, don't want to think the worst. God knows, Maggie's had us expecting the worst for 6 months, and always appears bright and eager next morning, or eventually. I'm sure she will again.

I'll give you an update tomorrow. Be well.

Friday, 13 March 2009

a writers voice

sunny, cold, frost on the ground, temps minus 5

Michael took the dogs out after breakfast for a walk, and for the first time this winter Maggie made it all the way around the pond! So did Trudy, but that's not much of a surprise. But without the snow it's possible for maggie. Then, around noon, I took them out again and again we went around.

Despite it being colder today it still smells of spring. Beautiful.

Lots of work. Wrote the book (or at least part of it) this morning. Then replied to messages, sent off some correspondence snail mail. And did some scheduling for next week. We need to re-do some of the narration I'd done for a film on literacy...apparently some of the script wasn't right. So we're doing that next Wednesday afternoon. Then on Thursday I'm driving in to Montreal for a couple of hours to record the CBC Radio pilot. Then out in time to meet with Lise about a fun new project...but can't tell you about it yet. Not til we (lise) works some things out. Thank God for Lise!

Still battling away on the permissions...always a pain you-know-where, but worth it. The problem is never actually getting the permission to use the poem, but to track down who holds them.

Must run - need to write Curtis Brown in London. Be well.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Freudian slips

overcast, windy, cold temps minus 5

Feels like a late november day. Looks like it too. We've lost most of our snow, so the field is a patchwork of white and gray/green. I initially wrote 'shite' instead of white...wonder what Humble Pie (the old tart) would say to that? But it is true...there is a fair amount of that about too.

Another good, quiet day. Wrote this morning - almost 2,000 words. Stopped at a natural break, and where I know what to do next. I think. I find that often changes as I walk through the rest of the day and let my mind see the action ahead. happily I've learned over the course of 5 books that I can always change it. And will change it. So I no longer worry about trying things...seeing where they go. Often I get rid of the whole things - except one turn of phrase. And it's worth it, for a well turned phrase.

Did my 20 minutes on the torture device - it's possible this isn't helping my motivation. However, must say I'm feeling more toned. Buff. Kind of.

Then spent an hour or so replying to emails and chasing down a permission for book 5 - THE BRUTAL TELLING. Lise, my terrific (though fragile) assistant, does all the permissions for poetry, but this one comes from a friend and I wanted to contact him myself. A terrific Canadian poet named Mike Freeman.

Now we're off to Sutton for a late lunch and some errands. Need to also get in touch we some people about the menu for Michael's party...and do a few other things. Always a reason to get out of bed in the morning...and always a good reason to crawl back in.

Hope you're having a day that gives you pleasure.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Michael's Menu

Rainy at first, then mainly sunny and very mild, temps plus 4

A little dreary this morning, then cleared up. Now very windy and mushy underfoot. The biologists from the government arrived today to make sure the land we're donating to a park really does exist. It does. Spent the day yesterday running around doing chores. Had a great time with Lise running over ideas. Then off to Knowlton and the cafĂ© floral to plan Michael’s 75th birthday menu. Here it is:

Starter: Warm pear, chevre, walnut and baby spinach salad

Main course: Filet Mignon with blue cheese sauce
or Magret de Canard with honey, orange and tea sauce
or Oven roasted maple marinated filet of Salmon
or Vegetarian Risotto

Dessert: frozen lemon cheesecake

Doesn’t that sound amazing??? Thank God for restaurants because I couldn’t begin to make those. I think most of this menu must go into Olivier’s Bistro, don’t you? Again, blurring the lines between fact and fiction.

Had a good day writing today and replying to messages. Take good care of yourself. Quiet day tomorrow, just writing. LOVE those days. Need those days.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Is that a bird? A plane?

snow, mild, temps freezing

Lovely day, min-blizzard this morning that has now settled into simply a gray day. But very mild. Again, a good day for gathering maple sap. We considered having our maple trees tapped, but then forgot. Might ask Michael about that. We have a small shed that we could perhaps convert into a sugar shack. You don't want to boil the stuff down to syrup in your home because you get a fine coat of sitcky, evaporated sap on everything.

Did the words for today, and my 20 gruesome minutes on the torture device. I have the delusion while ellipticating that if I go faster the 20 minutes will go by quicker. Breaking the Speed of Light seems the goal. I'm a little off that now. The Speed of Snail is the immediate target.

CBC Radio has asked me to host a national summer replacement show, this summer. A half hour weekly broadcast. I thought about it quite hard. The real problem, and only problem, was one of time, since I'll be writing the 6th book through the Spring and into the Summer. And once in the village it's terrible to leave and concentrate on something else. But the idea for the radio show is actually brilliant and I really like the woman who will be the Executive Producer. So I said yes to at least doing the pilot, and we'll see. The CBC might hate it. I'll keep you posted. We need to record the pilot before the end of this month. Though I suppose if I decide it was a mistake to agree by then I'll have broken the speed of light and can go back in time to reverse my decision.

Always comforting to have a Plan B.

The Globe and Mail has asked me to be their Ask An Author author for this week. If you have any questions just go to the Globe's website, find the feature and ask a question. My answers will appear in next Saturday's Globe.

Off to Cowansville for breakfast, then a bunch of running around, and a meeting with my wonderful assistant Lise, who has hurt her back. So we'll go to her place...force her to work from her sickbed. Yes, I'm that sort of employer. Dreadful. then a meeting in Knowlton with the restaurant that will be hosting Michael's 75th birthday party - choosing the menu. Stand back!

And now? I'm hopping in the bath, then Dom and Fabian (staying in the guest cottage) will be coming over. Seems our days get filled up.

Be well.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

It's later than you think

Mainly sunny, mild, temps plus 3

Amazing, spring day. Can smell it in the air, sweet and musky. Wet earth and grass, mud and other stuff that isn't mud. Snow not yet melted...with luck we'll keep some. Tomorrow's supposed to turn cold again. As you see, I quite like the winter. Actually, what I like is winter to be winter, and spring to come when it's time and not before. April is good. This morning awoke to thick fog, mist rising from the snow into the mild air.

Did you put your clocks forward an hour? It's now daylight saving time here...though I understand Arizona doesn't do it. Is that right? Don't really need to I suppose. Here it's great - lighter later.

Had a gas last night celebrating International Women's Day at a big dinner put on by the local Optomists Club. 120 people. Three local writers honoured - Sharon McCully, Laura Teasdale and Winona Matthews. Winona's 96 years old and was there - she's the Godmother of the writers movement in the Townships. A poem and writer of the history of the area. I was asked to give the keynote talk after dinner.

I give so many talks, but this felt different. Not only to celebrate these three amazing women, and remember women around the world whose voices aren't allowed to be heard...but for me personally to be among friends...people who know me. Who've seen me in my sweats in the produce section, not even bothering to hide the bag of jelly beans or cookies. Besides, my books are, for the most part, love letters to the people here...and I got to tell them last night how grateful I am.

And have fun too!

Our emails - personal - have all but crashed in the last day...some working, sporadically. Most frustrating. Nancy - God Bless Nancy - is riding to our rescue tomorrow morning.

Wrote more on book 6 today, did 20 minutes on the torture machine, wrote some letters. walked the dogs. Life is good.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Happy International Women's Day

Overcast, mild, temps plus 4

Happy Women's Day! Am off tonight to speak - can't think of a better way to celebrate. Women have played such an important role in my life - don't know what I would do without women friends!!

Kind of on that note I have to tell you I'm SO touched and impressed by the comments after I posted about the breast scans. BUT - I've tried for three days running to respond and the ridiculous thing won't let me! So, for those of you - kind and generous people, many of whom shared their own experiences - I want you to know I have read and re-read your comments and am very grateful and appreciative...and very sorry I can't seem to reply.

But I do thank you.

Just did an internet chat - with BookChatCentral. Loads of fun. Did over 1,000 words today, and 20 minutes on the elliptical! Feeling mighty pleased with myself. Because, well, you never know when the spirit leaves!

Am off - thank you again, marvelous people.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Cake? What Cake?

overcast, freezing rain, temps hovering around freezing

Blech day. But not unusual for March. In fact, it's perfect 'sugaring-off' weather. And, no, that's not a euphamism. It's the maple syrup season around here. Maple producers tap the trees and in spring when the sap starts running they collect it, boil it down and get maple syrup. And the perfect weather to collect the sweet syrup is when it get's above freezing during the day, then freezes up again at night.

March can be tricky here, as can April. Warm and rainy one day, bitter cold and a snow storm the next.

Thank you for all the lovely messages after yesterday's post. So many people have had the same experience. Men and women. I does feel like a battlefield sometimes, with people dropping all around, or being hit. And so far Michael and I have been lucky.

Had a very funny message from a woman named Cathie, whose dogs did in the better part of a bundt cake the other day. It reminded me of a note we found from Deanna when we got home not too long ago. She's a friend and comes and helps out sometimes. here's what she wrote:

Dearest Louise and Michael,

It seems as if, while I was upstairs cleaning, a mouse must have gotten up and eaten a few cookies, some fudge and the remaining butter. I asked Trudy (one of our goldens) if it might have been her and she seemed truly insulted! She promised to keep an eye out for that mouse.

After a while Trudy admitted that it was indeed her who had eaten the goodies but!!! that she, and not I, had permission from Louise as she left this morning to help herslef to the cookies and things on the counter. I explained that I thought Louise was talking to me but Trudy argued that I wasn't even in the room so clearly the offer was to her and I was the one stealing. So I must apologize again to you both and to Trudy and to all the mice who call this their home for my mis-understanding. :) Sincerely sorry, Deanna.

PS I think Trudy has forgiven me but she told me to listen more carefully in the future.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Good news

mainly sunny, mild, temps zero

Had great news at the doctors...we weren't worried but it's still good to get the 'all clear'...I'd had a mammogram in early January and it showed something odd, so they invited me back to get a clearer look, and while we were in Quebec City we got a call to say it still looked odd and we needed to take it to the next level - an ultrasound.

This, strangely, was the same week I heard A RULE AGAINST MURDER had made the New York Times Bestsellers list. I thought it was just like life...make the list and find out you have cancer all in the same week. Of course, this was FAR from finding out I had was just something they couldn't explain. Between us? I think it was a gummi bear lodged in there...I do inhale them sometimes.

We decided to have the next set of tests done in Montreal - at that Victorian asylum known as the Royal Victoria Hospital. So an appointment was made at the Breast Cancer Clinic and off we went yesterday.

It was an amazing, very humbling experience. To see the men quietly waiting for their wives. One of the men took Michael in hand and showed him where to hang his coat, and the magazines, etc. I went into the back area and into a robe. And listened as a group of women talked across the aisle about what stage their cancer was at, whether it involved the glands, whether they'd had chemo, radiation, a radical mastectomy, lumpectomy... they spoke so matter-of-factly. Most were younger than me - one in her early 30's. The lump had been found a year earlier and dismissed by the physician as being nothing...she was so young and with no family history. A year later she was in pain, and was finally diagnosed. The woman next to me was diagnosed as she breast fed her latest baby.

It was so moving to hear them talking - so calmly. I guess that's natural. By now most were veterans of this war. No drama.

I wasn't worried...I'd be reassured it was almost certainly nothing...and the ultrasound confirmed that. Though they scheduled an MRI to be absolutely certain. Seems a waste of time to me, and resources...but seems they might know better than me.

Got home exhausted last night...wrote lots on the book today...very happy so far. The beginning of any book is always a bit tricky...introducing the characters, especially the new ones. I feel I need to spend the time to get it right. So that I feel them, and see them, and they become three dimensional. Such fun to actually 'create' people.

Saturday is International Women's Day and I get to celebrate it with a dinner in Knowlton in honour of three local writers...Sharon McCully, Laura Teasdale and Winona Matthews
I'm the guest speaker. And while I won't talk about my visit to the clinic - I felt like a fraud, a voyeur - I will take that feeling with me. Of women helping women. And outside, the men who love them helping each other too.

What a lovely world we live in. Not always fair, but almost always beautiful.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

A full life

SUNNY, BREEZY, temps minus 8

We didn't get the terrible storm of the Northeast! Indeed, we got sunny skies...hough we are stillin Montreal so who knows what Sutto got. Quite a hit New Yor, Boston, etc took. Quite beautifrul though.

Quick suddenly got very buisy and trying to get my writing done...Michael's colonoscopy was perfect...all clear. Phew. Always a relief. But we have, as you might know, a pied a terre in Montreal...a small apartment we rent. And last year everything seemed to go downhill. No hot water for weeks on end...then no het in November. Calls to the management company went unanswered. Felt like we were all under seige. We're very lucky because this isn't our full-time home, but people who have nowhere else to go were beside themselves.

And today we all got notice of a rent increase!

I was afraid this would happen, so on our way to breakfast and to pick up the registered letter I asked Michael how he felt about moving, and e discussed it...but only if there was an increase. When we saw that there was, combined with our concerns for how well the building is now managed...we decided to consider moving.

On our way back we pass an apartment building very close, steps really, to where we get breakfast, and a big movie theatre, grocery store, the subway, buses, and overlooking parkland too. We nipped in to talk to their rental people, and an hour later we came out, having all but rented a new place. Michael then had lunch with a friend, I got in some writing, and we returned to the 'new' apartment and saw it again and liked it even more. It's smaller than our current apartment - one bed, one bathroom instead of two bed, two bath. But we don't need, or use, two. It has a lovely view, a great balcony, parking, much cheaper rent, 24 hr dorrman and security, plus an exercise room on the top floor and an indoor pool up there. Gorgeous.

So, we just rented it!!! Yippee... move in in June. Of course, that will be some work...but we're thrilled. Very excited.

Need to run - more writing to do, expecting a phone call...and going to watch Tropic Thunder with Michael. We saw W last night. Loved it!

Speak tomorrow. I wonder if we can get an HGTV programme to come decorate our pied a terre??? I think not, since I believe they only do things in Toronto. Still...

Sunday, 1 March 2009

The Beginning

sunny, cold, temps minus 10

Not as cold as yesterday. Just got off the ellitical torture device. 20 minutes..for both of us. Michael - wretched man - refused to do my 20 minutes for me.

Wrote the opening for book 6. won't tell you what it is. Was aiming to do 500 words and ended up at about 800. The first go at it this morning I was happy with but not ecstatic. Then had an idea and tried a new top...and it all came together. Funny how you know when it's right and when it's not quite right. It might still change, of course. But right now I'm happy.

Am tempted to put The End there and pretend I'm finished and the rest is just editing. It's all perception. And a dash of delusion.

We're fasting for tomorrow. I think I know why they call it a fast, because we pray for it to be over quickly. Yes, I am that insightful.

Linda sent the newsletter out today with the giveaway and a recipe for Pouding Chomeur.

Must run, we're off to Montreal. Will try to blog from there. Be well.