Sunday, 28 February 2010


overcast, some light snow, mild - temps plus 2

Nice day - snow still melting but we had a little more fall last night.

Zipped off to Knowlton this morning to drop the record off at CIDI community radio station. Not sure when they'll be finished transferring it. Now having a quiet afternoon. Watching Entourage. It sort of feels like the last day of summer vacation before school begins!

We invited Bal, Linda and Bethany over to watch the hockey finals this afternoon. Starts at 3pm our time. they'll bring the snack and we provide the drinks and TV. Bal seems to have fallen in love with the high definition.

We're very nervous about the game. I can guarantee the roads of Canada will be almost silent and empty at 3pm our time (noon in Vancouver). Placards were being set out in front of cafes and bars yesterday announcing that they were having a party to watch the Olympic finals.

But - before we get there - did you see the curling. Wow. Loved it.

Now heading up for a bath and a relax... happily having the Mounts is like having family - I plan to stay in my sweats.

In terms of the book, I start tomorrow morning...but my big question now is, do I write it on the new MacBook or go back to my ancient, beloved PC? I'm not sure. I'll tell you tomorrow what I decide. Apparently what I write it on isn't crucial - at least, my agent says the publishers will not accept that as an excuse if the book is bad.


Speak to you tomorrow. Enjoy the day!

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Olympian anxiety

sunny breaks, some snow squalls, mild - temps plus 3

Dear Lord, sitting here watching the Canadian men's curling team play Norway (their skip - siiigh) in the gold medal match. Heart pounding. Canada up 5 to 3, but Norway smart and well positioned. 9th End. there's one more end.

But - while the curling is on in the BG - I have to tell you about last night and the Olympics. Bal, Linda and Bethany came over and Bal and Michael immediately raced to the TV to watch the Canadian women's finals playing Sweden. Shrieks from the TV rooms as Canada battled Sweden...and finally Sweden prevailed.

Dear Lord, the Norwegians might score three in this end...

there are no atheists at curling matches. Yikes. Rock going down the ice...ooops - Norway just knocked our stones out of the rings. That can't be good.

So, last night the Canadian women won silver. We all ate dinner around the TV - mouths agape.

Then the Mounts ran back to the guest cottage and Michael and I watched the hockey - Canada vs Slovakia in the semi-finals. Unbelievable game. We won - but wow was it terrifying in the last minute. Slovakia poured everything the had - score was 3-2. Canada collapsed. The Slovaks were pounding shot after shot at the goalie. 20 seconds to go. One looked like it went in. The crowd was screaming. We were screaming. I think I could hear Bal and Linda in the cottage screaming. More Slovakian shots on net. All of Canada silent - hilding breaths...watching the clock. Slovaks pull their goalie...another forward comes on the ice to hammer the Canadians. 10 seconds... 5 seconds. A slovakian shot on goal - one last. And it misses.

Ohhhh - Canada won - but just.

And now we go to the finals tomorrow - Sunday - at 3pm our time. We've invited the mounts back...might as well scream together.

Busy but very fun day today...breakfast with Cheryl, lunch with Lili and David - saw Jacques and Louise tonight to celebrate his birthday.

Oh - Canada just got one more point at the end of the ninth end. score is now 6 to 3 for Canada. We might win gold. Still - that Norwegian skip. He might need comforting after this...

By the way, there's a wonderful post by Robin Agnew you might want to read...she runs Aunt Agatha's Bookstore in Ann Arbor - a fabulous mystery bookstore. She put up her favorite mystery/crime books each year so far this decade. Here's the link to the blog she writes with others...great name to 'Hey, There's a Dead Guy in my Living Room.'

Here's the link:

It's a great blog - all the posts.

Martin now shooting final stone...for Canadian gold!!!! And - we win!!!!! Wow. I like Kevin Martin, our skip. Seems like such a nice man. The crowd just sang, spontaneously, O Canada. Very moving. This might sound normal, but it is, believe me, quite rare for a Canadian crowd to do that. All the more moving, really, when it does happen.

Wow. And the Norwegians - while I'm sure very sorry to win silver - have the grace to smile and shake hands and clap the Canadians on the be good sports. Surely that's all part of being a really great, world-class competitor - being gracious in defeat as well as winning.

Off to Knowlton tomorrow. I finally found that record i"ve been looking for for decades...Billy Bishop Goes to War. Wonderful musical. But only available on LP...not CD. But happily, Maurice at the local radio station said if I take it to the station tomorrow morning he'll download it. Such a nice man. But he also asked if i could do a radio show for them.

After some discussion we decided it would be fun if I took a tape recorder with me to Washington for Malice Domestic - and recorded my experiences - emotions - events...some interviews perhaps with people there, both readers and writers. Give listeners a feeling they're there with us. So I'll be doing that.

But very excited to finally get to hear that record again. Especially as I begin the next book. More wonderful music to inspire and lift me...make me better than I actually am.

Speak to you tomorrow.

Friday, 26 February 2010

T'was a dark and...

mainly sunny, mild, temps plus 4

Unbelievably mild day - most of that snow we had - about 2 feet - melted. Very sorry to see it go. But we still have lots. And I see the east coast is getting hammered. Again. Very odd weather patterns when New York has a harsher winter than the Quebec hinterland.

Did you see the gold medal women's hockey??? What a great game - at least sitting where I am! It's just possible american fans might feel different. To be honest, not being into hockey, we weren't all that pleased when it seemed a choice between that or Norway vs finland in cross country skiing. So we begrudgingly settled in to watch the hockey. And within 2 minutes we were hooked - yelling at the screen (they won because of us, you know. Same thing applied to airplanes...they only stay up because I will them to...and you thought it was science). We got very, very excited.

And then Canada won. Fun.

Did you see the figure skating? Now, I have to admit, as exciting as the hockey turned out to be, my heart all day was yearning for the long programme in skating. To see that South Korean woman again. And Flatt and the other American - so graceful and so young. And, of course, Joannie. Wow.

Gorgeous. All of them.

It's been a busy but fun day. Breakfast in Cowansville - then a meeting at the Sutton school about their Reading initiative they've asked me to be part of. Met with 3 school people to discuss it. We decided I'd go for lunch on March 18th, then speak to the students. Mostly about the struggles I had. One of the teachers also suggested I talk about starting a book...apparently the kids struggle with that. How a story should begin. i think that's a great idea. Indeed, I asked if - to make it interactive - the kids could be asked to write first lines.

Oddly, just that morning tying up my boots to go out to breakfast I suddenly knew how Book 7 should begin. poor Michael and trudy were already in the car and I took off into the living room to write my thoughts down in the notebook.

Cannot begin to tell you what a relief this is! I'd been growing more and more anxious. I know the story of book 7. I even knew - in broad strokes - what I wanted to have happen in the first chapter...but not the first line. Not the introductory scene.

Now I know.

Makes Monday seem a lot less frightening.

then, over breakfast, I had more ideas and needed to interrupt Michael to jot them down. poor one. but he's been through this before. Each book really is different, though. Each has it's own unexpected rough patches and challenges - and even writing tempo.

Must head off...our friends who are staying at the guest cottage for the next two weeks have just arrived. Bal, Linda and Bethany Mount. They're coming over for dinner. Linda - who has eaten here many times - decided to make the main dish. Smart woman. Lucky us.

tomorrow morning I'm breakfasting with Cheryl, then Michael and I are having lunch with David and Lili in Sutton...and seeing jacques and Louise later in the day. Trying to get all the socializing in before starting the book.

Speak to you tomorrow.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Clara Hughes!!

overcast, mild, blustery, temps plus 2

Oh dear - we might be losing all the magnificent snow we had yesterday. About two feet of the stuff. Gorgeous. Anthony's back, doing some more shoveling. It's such fun - there's so much of it that walking out our back door is like walking into a snow fort - with high, carved walls of snow on either side. There was so much snow we couldn't see our was buried.

But then, unexpectedly, Michael came and said we had to go into the village - to the post office. Something needed to arrive at the government by Monday. Fortunately Tony had already dug the car out so we all just brushed it off, and we headed into town.

Honestly - thank God for all wheel drive, and snow tired. The plow had been by in the last hour, but only one swing, so our road was one lane wide. Had we met any other demented people on it we'd have had a bit of a problem. But no one, as it turns out, was quite as nuts as us.

We got to and from the post office just fine. Even climbing the very big series of hill to our home. We're pretty much on a plateau snuggled on the top of some mountains, but between a few higher ones. It will be snowing at our place but rain in the village. And we can see the temperature (as measured by our car, which is clearly smarter than we are - now that would be a good game show. Are You Smarter Than Your Car? the answer is, no.) but you can see the temperature drop as we climb the hills to our home.

it was actually quite fun - except it mean the almost inconceivable...I had to leave the couch by the fireplace.

I saw Clara Hughes win bronze. What a remarkable woman - indeed person - she is! You know she's won SIX olympic medals...most in speed skating, but one in the Summer Olympics in biking. And she works hard for others - raising huge amounts for a cause called 'Right to Play' - for children in developing nations. Lovely woman.

I cannot believe we've never actually met. She's been training in Vancouver for the past 18 months, but still - before that...even in the IGA for groceries. You'd have thought... I must send her a congratulatory note. And when she gets back see if we can't get together for a coffee...though I suspect she'll be very busy.

We also watched Canada defeat (easily) the Russians in hockey. They looked a different team than the one that lost to the US on Sunday night. So - we're still in it. Tonight it's the women's long programme in skating. Go Joannie! And that delightful young American...Flatt is her name? Actually, though I really will be cheering Joannie, I have to say for the most part I just love seeing all their performances. Such poise under unbearable pressure. Can you imagine standing alone at centre ice in the Olympics in that silence before the music begins.


Having a quiet day. Fine-tuning the newsletter...answering Michel's questions about the french translation for Dead Cold/A Fatal Grace. Doing bits and pieces. Trying to really clear the decks before starting to write book 7. hard to believe I'm actually at book 7.

In answering some of Michel's translation issues I needed to go back to Dead cold/A Fatal Grace. Always afraid when I do that I'll hate the book - be embarrassed by it. But, you know, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. A huge relief. One day, perhaps when I'm 90, I will sit by the fire and re-read all the books (all 45 of them). I look forward to the day I can do that. Right now I can't re-read a book already published. Bits and pieces, yes...but not the whole thing.

But, when the time comes that I have the time and distance to do it - and my internal critic had died and gone to Hell - I will pour a cafe au lait, get a croissant and read. And remember this amazing, blessed, glorious time in my life. When I have Michael and this lovely career.

In the meantime - forward!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Joannie Rochette

snow, blowing snow, temps around freezing

What a day! Two feet of snow at least...thank God for Tony who came and dug us out this afternoon and even brought a bag of groceries (hot cross buns, chocolate syrup - the essentials...just like the pioneers). We were going to stay in Montreal overnight and drive down to the country today. I had a Skype book club chat with this marvelous bookstore called Mysteries&More in Nashville. It started at 8pm. We had a great time...lots of fun and interesting questions. They'd read Still Life.

But - Michael and I had heard the forecast. There was always going to be bad weather for the balance of the week, but a sudden storm had appeared off the east coast and would hit Quebec by midnight and dump up to 20 cm's of snow. And the rest of the week was looking bad too.

So we decided to scoot into the car and head home in the window between 9pm and midnight. The first half of the drive was quite...between the forecast for a blizzard and the Canada/Germany hockey game, we were mostly alone on the road. Then the snow started...and got heavier and heavier. We were going to stop for dinner off the highway but decided to push through. made it home - always a relief! - in time to watch Joannie Rochette skate in the women's short programme. both Michael and I were in tears, as were most of the people watching. Poor one. What depths she must have. Sometimes when watching sports it suddenly becomes about something else...and no score could ever reflect that. That was such a moment.

These young athletes are amazing. She's amazing.

Then Michael and I crawled to bed and woke up to snow plastered against the windows...we could barely see out. It was waist deep and we got on our snowshoes to walk through it but could only get two paces away...I couldn't lift my leg high enough to get to the top of the snow.

I was supposed to go for a meeting at the Sutton school, to discuss their Reading Programme. As you know, they've asked me to take part, which I'm thrilled to do - but I'm not a natural with children. After I mentioned on the blog that my strategy was to treat them like puppies a number of you wrote to say kids actually have thoughts, and feelings and imaginations and perhaps it would be better to appeal to those rather than offer them cookies if they sit up nice and beg.

So I will try. But we had to cancel the meeting since the school was closed. Rescheduled for Friday.

We were forced - forced I say - to have a cafe au lait in front of the fireplace instead. I wrote the March newsletter and marveled at Marjorie from Connecticut, who seems a "friends" demon. She'd have made a marvelous herder in another life.

Unfortunately the snow has also plastered itself against our satellite dish, so no Olympics. More time in front of the fire. Reading, nibbling, sipping. Preparing to write the next book, starting monday.

Oh, Michael just reported that the satellite is clear and Sutton's own Clara Hughes is about to skate in the Olympics. Must fly. Speak tomorrow. Be well.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Ice Dancing

overcast, wet flurries, temps 0

Did you see the ice dancing last night at the Olympics??? Amazing, beautiful, performances. I adore the American pair who've been skating since they were the old video of them skating together. But what joy to see Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue dance. And win.

It was transcendent. And they were so happy. Joyous. And, to add to the delight, as Hope Dellon my US editor said - Tessa Virtue is not only a brilliant athletes and gorgeous...she has the BEST name ever. I think I might have to start using it. Tessa Virtue...

Watched a wonderful film last night too - before the ice dancing...a small, hilarious british film called In The Loop - political satire. Great.

Finished the copy edits yesterday as you know - but today's struggle was to ship them back. called UPS - who refused to picked them up today even though Michael called at 10:30 in the morning. We needed to pay an extra 2 dollars, which we were willing to do...but wait, no, we couldn't pay it, the US publishers had to pay it - but wait - their account wasn't set up for this admittedly new UPS rule. So they'd pick it up from us tomorrow but, no, they couldn't tell us when in a 12 hour period they might arrive.

UPS. I wonder if they know they have competition? From FedEx, from the post office, from emails... I wonder if they've heard of the economic downturn - where it might be a good idea to ramp-up customer service. Ugh.

I wrote to my magnificent US publishers - Laura at St. martin's Minotaur and ran through the situation. She got back within minutes saying she'll clear it up. And she did.

But this was more than an hour of productive time take. ugh.

But they came, whisked it away - took them about 30 seconds at the door, if that.

Had a fun day today...porridge at Nicks with Michael. Then grabbed a cab through the snow and slush to an annual medical...routine. then walked home, and while Michael had lunch with a very good friend - David Rosenblatt - I answered emails, did some writing and marvelled at Marjorie from Connecticut (her new legal name...or MFC for short) - the Queen of Facebook. This woman is unbelieveable. Added almost 100 people to my Facebook account today. When she get's me to 1,000 she will ascend to Empress of Facebook. At 10,000 she becomes the Archangel Marjorie (from Connecticut - to distinguish her from Archangel Marjorie from Manitoba) and at a million she is a Goddess.

We should all root for Marjorie becoming a Facebook Goddess.

At 4pm I had a meeting over the phone with Torin, of ProLiteracy about adult literacy and different strategies to raise awareness. And tonight at 8 I have a Skype chat with members of the book club at the Independent bookstore, Mysteries and More, in Nashville, Tennessee. I love skype - makes a visit to places I can't actually get to right now easy and fun.

Greg, his wife Mary and I did a test about a week ago and managed to connect but we're on satellite at home and the connection is a little weak so the signal jumped and both the video and audio was distorted at times. We needed to come in to Montreal for doc appointments anyway so we decided to stay in the apartment for the night since we have highspeed here.

Looking forward to the discussion.

I must say, I had a fun day too relaxing on the bed, watching trashy video's (none as fab as In the Loop from last night) and eating pastries. Ahh, the life of a struggling writing. My big struggle is getting up.

Be well - I'll talk with you tomorrow.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Getting in your Facebook

mainly sunny, mild, temps minus 5

Lovely day. got up at 4:15 this morning, and drove in to Montreal with Doug. Him in his car, Michael and me in ours. Doug continued on to Toronto.

The trick, especially for Doug who needs to drive through Montreal, is to avoid rush hour here, and rush hour when he arrives in TO. The best way to do that is leave really, really early. We could have just seen him off and left later, but we quite like getting in early too.

So we arrived here about 6:15am - unpacked the car and went for breakfast at Nick's on Greene Ave. Lorraine served us eggs and bacon. And loads of coffee. Then home to do some copy editing. At 10:45 we decided we needed fresh air so we walked from the apartment along rue Ste Catherine to Michael's eye doc on Drummond street. Great walk...took about 25 minutes.

The doc gave Michael some drops to lower the pressure in one eye, but beside that everything looked great. Always a relief. Thanks to all of you who wrote to give support. You know what it's like.

Then we wound our way home stopped at the Nespresso store for cappuccinos and cookies and to pick up more capsules. What a gorgeous store/cafe. Beautifully designed and even comfortable.

Then to the DVD store - then the bank and picked up sandwiches and salads (and pastries) for a lunch at home...and some magazines. In Westmount Square, where we got the food, they'd set up easy chairs and a flat screen TV and everyone was gathered around watching the Olympic curling.

Speaking of which - Michael, Doug and I watched the hockey last night. Canada vs the US. Canada...lost!!! But what a great game. Fast - clean...hardly any whistles. And while the Canadian team played great, so did the americans...and their goalie Miller was wonderful. See, I sound like I know what I'm talking about. I generally don't watch hockey. Don't really like it. But Olympic hockey seemed a national necessity - as was the pizza Doug bought. Anyway, Canada lost.

However - far more important - Canada defeated the Americans this afternoon at curling.

By the time Michael and I got home we were hitting the wall and just trudging along.

Once home Michael put the curling on, I got our lunches ready, and he watched the Olympics while I spent the next 4 hours finishing the copy edits. Quite easy - but some gnarley issues - like at least one day lost and how to fix that.

Marjorie, from Connecticut - wrote to say she had no idea I was on Facebook. She just sent a 'friend request' and a gentle suggestion that maybe it would be better not to keep my social networking such a secret. I agree. So I'm telling you...I'm on Facebook. Now - I'm also a Facebook luddite...I have no idea what to do with it.

If you could tell others I'm there and they too can friend me, that would probably be a good thing too. And, since Marjorie seems to know how these things work, I've asked her help in also getting the blog up there.

If any of you know how to spread the word better - and how I might better utilize Facebook, please help me. I'm happy to do it, as long as it is absolutely no work. Ha.

I now feel like a stuffed toy...all floppy and tired. Time to sit and watch the Olympics. Go ice dancers. Now there's a beautiful sport!

Hope you're all well...speak to you tomorrow. Storm expected tomorrow night.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

A Vowel Movement

flurries, mild, temps minus 2

Still have not been outside. I'm goin' for the record, ma.

Laughed over your comments about the US vs Canadian/UK versions. Totally agree about titles. I think/hope that has stopped. Not my first choice either. To be fair to the publishers, it's not their first choice, but they genuinely believe they're dealing with different sensibilities - and what attracts in the UK might not attract in the US. They really are doing their best. But I agree, it's annoying.

And in terms of what you're missing...I can guarantee you aren't missing much...except of course the final chapter of The Brutal Telling. We kept that out of the US version.


You are only missing a few 'u's but you get a bunch of quotation marks in exchange. But I'll be happy to tell my US editor there is a ground swell of support for keeping the Canadian/UK spellings etc.

We're having a lovely day here, basically just getting caught up with Doug and him with us. Planning the next family reunion. We realized after our mother died there was a danger we'd drift apart...that her home and seeing her was the focal point for most of our lives. So we decided we needed to make a pledge to get together once a year, and rotate it among us. last year it was our turn and everyone came for Thanksgiving. Next year it's our brother Rob's turn. he and audi just moved to Regina where he'd the new deputy minister of Transportation for the province. We're very proud of him. I remember when he was in his early 20's and had just moved out to Alberta...he'd send hundreds of photos home of roads he was building...honestly, they all looked like dirt roads through forest, but we looked at them all and exclaimed over them.

What was obvious was his absolute passion for transportation, and road building specifically. A passion that has stayed with him all his life.

Back to the reunion...since we've been doing these reunions for many years now we think we might adjust the concept and go somewhere else...and we think maybe it'll be Arizona in october. But it's early days yet. Tried to phone Rob earlier today so we could speak with him but there was no answer. Will try later.

Such fun having Doug visiting. He needs to get back to Toronto tomorrow and we need to be at a doctor's appointment for Michael's eye in Montreal - so we've decided to get up reeeeeally early and drive in...miss the runsh hour traffic. Will leave here at 5am.

Going to order pizza from Knowlton and watch the Canada/US hockey game tonight. Doug's kids and Mary are actually there!!!

Be well - will try to blog tomorrow.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

'Honour' "Honor"

overcast, light snow, mild, temps about freezing

I have no idea what it's like out - haven't been beyond the threshold, expect to yell at Tony as his snow-blower roared. Wanted him to come in and have a coffee. Besides that, I've barely been off the sofa. Great day.

My brother Doug arrived from Toronto with the whirlwind that is his dog, Buttercup. The Hound from Hell. Actually, BC is joyous, with a tail like a thick whip - that goes constantly. She also levitates. She managed, when our backs were turned to eat a package of hot cross buns, some bread and a pita. Carbing up. Does not bode well.

Having Doug here is such fun - we laugh until no sound comes out. over lunch I thought Michael would be permanently red he was laughing so Doug's description of traveling with our mother.

Nancy came by this morning to fix Doug;s computer, which he brought from Toronto for her...we only trust her, and she was fab - fixing it in an hour or so.

Doug went off visiting, Michael watched the Olympics and I spent most of the day going over the copy edited version of BURY YOUR DEAD. Quite daunting at first...a huge pile of pages, covered in red. But then I realized most of the red ink was to Americanize the manuscript. I write dialogue using just one quotation mark, '. but in the States they use two, ". and, of course, there's the spelling. Draughts, drafts. Honour, honor. It's extremely interesting to see the differences, but as I said, disconcerting to see all that red ink.

But there were also extremely interesting issues of time and dates and other things that demanded attention...and some references that needed further research. I like this part of the process...especially this year when it happens when I'm not yet writing the next book. I find it very difficult to write one book in the morning and edit another in the afternoon. Besides the always present issue of being way too lazy to want to work that hard.

We're having a relaxed dinner at home tonight...cheese, pate and baguette - carrots and celery, hummus and tatziki by the fire...then probably off to watch a bit of the Olympics. I've lost a little track of what's happening. Big game tomorrow night - Canada vs the US at hockey! Mary and the kids are there. Doug keeps getting texts from his oldest son, Brian, to say how much fun they're having at the Olympics. They saw Robinson get the gold in skeleton yesterday, and heard a live band and just got back from skiing themselves at Whistler. Sounds like the trip of a lifetime.

Did I mention I stayed on the couch all day? And....loving it.

Thank you too for all your beautiful comments after yesterday's post. I really, really appreciate it. Your support means so much to me.

Speak to you tomorrow!

Friday, 19 February 2010


Steady, light snow, some blowing, temps minus 5

Came back from dinner last night through practically a snow storm. Fortunately we're so familiar with the roads there was no anxiety at all...and it's only about a 20 minute drive. Had a wonderful, fun dinner with Kirk and Walter, Jack and Jane - and about a million other people in the restaurant. Cheap eats night. Very fun...and loads of birthdays celebrated - including Donna, who works for Lise in the summer and helps do our gardens. Lise and Delmar were there to help her celebrate....wonderful to see them. And our neighbor Pina was at another table.

Watched on pins and needles as Evan Lysacek won Olympic Gold in figure skating. Wow.

But I have to tell HUGE news yesterday was that THE BRUTAL TELLING has been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Traditional Mystery. Yiipppppeeee! So excited. Sadly the others in my category are very strong. Damn. Here's the list for Best Novel and Best First....

Best Novel

Swan for the Money, Donna Andrews, St. Martin’s Minotaur
Bookplate Special, Lorna Barrett, Berkley Prime Crime
Royal Flush, Rhys Bowen, Berkley Prime Crime
A Brutal Telling, Louise Penny, Minotaur Books
Air Time, Hank Phillippi Ryan, MIRA

Best First Novel

For Better For Murder, Lisa Bork, Midnight Ink
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley, Delacorte Press
Posed for Murder, Meredith Cole, St. Martin’s Minotaur
The Cold Light of Mourning, Elizabeth Duncan, St. Martin’s Press
In the Shadow of Gotham, Stefanie Pintoff, Minotaur Books

Congratulations to all the nominees. It is VERY exciting. The Agatha's are given out at the Saturday night banquet at Malice Domestic - a mystery readers and writer's conference in Washington at the beginning of May.

It's fun because emails to and from the other nominees have been flying - congratulating each other. Feels so good to be part of community where people are genuinely pleased for the other. We each, of course, want to win...but we'd also be happy for whoever does. Great feeling.

speak to you tomorrow!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

All Fall Down

Very light flurries, mild, temp minus 3

All the trees looks like they've been sprinkled with confectioners sugar. Very soft, light snow.

I'm so glad my talk of music resonated with quite a few of you. I realize how visceral it is for me. When a piece gets me it lodges in my chest - but does something else too. it seems to open a channel. and clearly the same is true for many of you.

What fun the Olympic Halfpipe (we kept calling it the halfpike) was last night. My God, there's a reason Shaun White is famous. Like Apolo Ono. they manage to be both chamismatic, social, and peak athletes. Amazing. Dazzling.

Michael said he thinks the halfpipe might be his favorite olympic sport...eclipsing even curling. (Did you get a load of the Norwegian men's curling slacks? I think they're hilarious - but more importantly, did you get a load of their skip??? Dear Lord, talk about getting rocks off... He's my malaika.)

We also watched with great delight and horror the women's downhill. How do they get up after falls like that? speaking of which, I love the Nike add - and the music. Everyone falls down...

I'm glad to see some of the flaws in the organizing etc are being taken care of. It does seem a funny sort of games with all sorts of things going wrong, from the weather, clearly uncontrollable, to having cordoned off the Olympic flame so that people can't get close or even take pictures. Happily, the VANOC is correcting these thing and have made it easier to take photos... and they're responding to other the machine to do the ice at the speed skating oval. Apparently the Vancouver Olympic committee wanted this to be as 'green' a games as possible, so they made some decisions that might not have been wise. Like using a machine that wasn't as effective as a Zamboni. Perhaps better for the environment, but not for the games.

But, as Rick hansen said, the Olympics are not about perfection, but doing your best. And learning.

And about the red mitts - yes, they seem to be sold out at the Olympic website and the bay and zellers websites - but I understand if you go to The Bay or Zellers you might still find some. Buy lots. The proceeds go to the athletes to support their training.

Good luck! I didn't realize they can't be shipped to the US. that's odd. And a shame. I don't understand, but then I haven't been following this.

Having dinner tonight with Kirk and Walter and Jane and Jack....thursday night steak/frites special in Knowlton. Yum.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Lux Aeterna

overcast, cool, temps minus 4

Feels a little colder to me, but it is still WAY milder than normal.

Am having great fun engaging now with the next book. Just letting my thoughts run free. But I also realize how important music is to my creative process. Each book has had both poems, and pieces of music that have inspired it. Sometimes with lyrics, like the searing Leo Ferre piece called 'Avec le temps' that inspired the next book - Bury Your Dead - and the instrumental 'Colm Quigley' that inspired The Brutal Telling.

I was watching the pairs short programme at the Olympics the other day and as always was amazed. I just love all of them! And get so caught up in their stories...borders and frontiers disappear and it seems to become about the people - the human stories. But - what struck me like lightning - it really feels like a jolt - was the music used (co-incidentally) by one of the Canadian pairs. They didn't do so well in the standings, but their music stunned me. I loved it.

Yesterday I decided to try to find out what it was. I love research - part of what I adored about journalism...following leads and trails - and the amazing satisfaction when you find what you're looking for. So I googled and searched, refined my search, tried different things...and finally found a reference to it. The piece was Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell, from his larger work Requiem for a Dream. Though, I actually think it was a slightly different version called Requiem for a Tower. But I downloaded both.

As soon as I heard it I knew it was the 'track' to book 7, which is tentatively called A WORLD OF SIGHS - from an Othello quote.

My books, I've long realized, are individually like pieces of music, and often collectively like a that over the arc of several books and story lines, there are different movements.

After BURY YOUR DEAD - which as you'll see is like a final movement - rich, full, dramatic - the next book needs to start the cycle again. Ridiculous to keep building dramatically...then the series would turn into a melodramatic shriek.

No, there are natural ebbs and flows, and book 7 is really the beginning of another 'symphony'. Indeed, the thrilling part in finding that piece of music is it tracks what I hope A WORLD OF SIGHS will feel like - but it is also what the next arc of a few books will feel like, over the course of Lux Aeterna.

Not sure if this is making any sense, but it is thrilling for me...indeed pivotal. A turning point in approaching a book. so many unseen elements need to fall into place for it to feel real to me, and be propelled along. Having music in my head as I'm writing (granted and thankfully not all the time) - is a huge inspiration.

The trick, though, is not to over-listen to it, and have the 'magic' and power wear off. Now I'm afraid to listen to it at all until I start to write on March 1st. We'll see if I can or if I give in to temptation. As Oscar Wilde said, 'I can resist anything except temptation.'

Having fun watching the Olympics. I just adore the skating - hockey I'm afraid doesn't do much for me - but I do love curling. Such a game of nerves and strategy. Of finess. What an interesting - and probably psychotic - country Canada is - to embrace and love both hockey and curling. Like our seasons, we are drawn to extremes. Well masked behind a courteous exterior.

Thanks for letting me prattle on about music. It feels quite divine when something hits like that. Very exciting.

Monday, 15 February 2010


overcast, mild, temps at freezing

Wow - we watched (curled into little balls) the men's mogul finals last night...and saw Alexandre Bilodeau win GOLD! You'd have to have a heart like a stone, or be related to any of the other competitors, not to be happy for the young man. It was the first time in the Olympics I was moved to tears. Not the moment it was clear he won, but to see his tears, when he stood on the podium. But I often get chocked up at that moment, no matter who is there. If they cry, I cry. Such joy and wonder and amazement and awe. So much work.

But I have to admit, there was definitely that added joy that he's a Canadian - and even a Quebecois...and he's so proud to be Canadian - not always a given in a Quebecois.

We're about to watch more Olympics. Thank God I'm not trying to write the next book yet! Just thinking about it. Poor Michael gets it every morning - the discussion of my thoughts on the next book. Title ideas, themes, poetry. It is wonderful to speak with him about it. He actually listens and helps a huge amount. He has a very cunning mind!

Having a lovely relaxing time. Off for breakfast tomorrow in Cowansville and a few errands. Great time in my year...quiet.

Hope you're well and enjoying yourselves. Speak to you tomorrow!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Huge, light, fluffy flakes of snow drifting down, temps minus 4

Gorgeous, perfect Quebec winter day. Not too cold, not too windy. The Middle Bear -very Canadian. Not too too anything. But very lovely.

Such fun watching the Olympics. I realize I don't really root for a country - though I naturally lean toward Canadians. But in the long track skating last night - 5,000 metres - I was dying with anxiety for the Dutch skater. Can't remember is name. Apparently the whole Netherlands stopped to watch him - all hopes and dreams riding on his slender shoulder and quite formidible thighs. I realize I have skaters thighs. And proud of 'em.

but back to Sven (yes, I think that was his first name)...young guy - first olympics. In the netherlands the power company even said it would take money off everyone's bills for every gold this young guy won! Imagine.

I'd never heard of him before, and suddenly he NEEDED to win. I was practically curled into a ball, waiting to see how the others would do...

Such fun when the broadcsters give the individual stories, so that I care about the athletes as individuals.

Canada still has not won a gold. Our female mogulist (ette) won silver behind and between two terrific american performances.

Organizers doing an amazing, titan, job keeping the hills in shape given the epic rainfall they've had. but things should clear up.

Michael and I are having a quiet day in front of the fireplace. I'm going through Air Canada Vacations book dreaming of another trip. Great escapism. The truth is, I'm terribly comfortable here.

Today I've agreed - happily - to sponsor a table at malice domestic in Washington in May, and make a donation for the auction. Have also agreed to an interview with John Barber of the Globe and Mail Tuesday morning. And tried to arrange to meet a young woman - 14 - who lives locally and is a fanatical reader and writer. Wanted to get together for a 'girls only' afternoon tea at a nearby auberge, but we can't seem to co-ordinate her schedule and mine. I'm sure we will eventually.

Speaking of young writers, I did a fun Skype chat with students at Alexander Galt High in nearby Lennoxville. Their teacher, Stephanie Brown is amazing, and really encourages these exceptional students. Indeed, she's put my books on her curriculum, which is very creative and daring of her.

One of the students I spoke with is named Melissa - and she's a poet. Well, Stephanie just emailed the poem Melissa read for me at our chat. I was deeply impressed then, and now, and wanted you to read it. It was inspired by a character, Bean, in A RULE AGAINST MURDER/THE MURDER STONE. - and below it Melissa wrote what specifically inspired her to write this poem,

Bean and the Obituaries:

I sit in silence
Listening to the rhythm

Of 20 ticks in one tock
In simultaneous motion

I sit and think
Of how many humans who die
Every second tock
And every fourth tick

I lie down and feel
My heart speak in motion

To the beacons of time
I illuminate in my room

They know when the
Conversation between
My heart and them will end

I do not
I read the listings
Of people’s who have

I wrote this one on inspiration of all the clocks that Bean has in his/her room. I figured, clocks tick and hearts beat, and it could end up being a sort of conversation. The somewhat annoying but so desperately needed repetition in our daily lives. I thought about how I could relate the obituaries to the ticks and tocks of a clock, (which, was amazingly realistic seeing how all young children are fascinated or terrified by death.) and I got the impression that since they were having a conversation, and if one stopped talking, the conversation would end. As for the beacons being illuminated, they stand for what stands out to Bean. I hope you enjoyed it ☺

That was by Melissa Major. Brava.

Happy Valentine's Day! Be well.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Opening ceremonies

light snow, windy, temps minus 5

One of those chilly days that gets into the bones. Last night too. The problem, always, is the wind. Late yesterday afternoon Michael came down from his study all chilled. His study is the coolest (not in a good way) place in the house - but not cold. Just cool enough that you don't notice yourself getting a chill until it has already happened. So off he went to bed with his flannel pajamas and a hot water bottle I boiled up for him. Felt better after an hour or so. Appeared (perhaps not completely coincidently) in time for dinner.

Then we both repaired to the bedroom and watched the opening ceremonies.

Wonderful. Those whales? The first nations! The dancing and joy. The images on the floor...the continental ice breaking up and splitting the clans. Amazing.

Like everyone else, our hearts broke for the Georgian athletes - and indeed for the Olympic organizers and volunteers who'd worked years and years - and then to have this tragedy happen just when it was time to let loose and celebrate.

Still, I think they did an amazing job of striking the appropriate balance between honouring the young man, marking his death, mourning it - but also allowing for a celebration.

Just two slightly odd things for us...everytime the camera panned to the VIP platform the guests looked uninterested. The athletes were waving and using their 'candles' - the 60-thousand in attendance were cheering...but the VIP's often looked asleep. Bored even. Perhaps it was just bad timing...and perhaps they were exhausted. And maybe they felt a certain gravitas needed to be shown. But I also think they could have looked happier. Or more engaged.

the other thing I thought was slightly odd was the decision to put Wayne Gretzky (I believe they might have found someone else to light the flame...I'd have loved to see Betty Fox or Rick Hansen or Nancy Greene) on a pickup truck at the end of the ceremony, shipped him across town, to light the outdoor Olympic flame, so far from any the 60-thousand people, the athletes, the snoozing VIP's did not see it live. Just felt a little low rent after a beautiful, elegant, joyous opening ceremony.

But those are tiny things compared to the amazing achievement. Such soaring pride I felt. It was not an opening ceremony that will be remembered for anything in particular, I believe. But it was warm, welcoming, lovely - happy.

One of my favorite parts was the beat poet. He was great. I'm always astonished at people's poise. I cannot begin to imagine how many ativan it would take to get me up there.

Had breakfast this morning with Gary and Cheryl...lots of fun. Off to a meeting tonight. Quiet few days ahead. Bliss. We've dug out from the messages and mail and chores always waiting. God bless Lise for fielding most of the work while we were away.

Some of you wrote to ask about the calendars... Yes, we will definitely be creating them. Lise, Michael and I worked on the design yesterday, choosing appropriate photos from around here to compliment the months - and a few photos of Michael and me, and Trudy even slipped into one.

We have one of those perpetual calendars up in our kitchen and consult it everyday to see who's birthday or anniversary is coming up. Without it we'd be lost! Sadly with it we have no excuse for forgetting birthdays.

We hope to make the design very easy, simple, clear - and reflective of the Gamache series without being too in-your-face. Hitting the tone, really, of Three Pines. So we're being quite careful, and consulting each other a lot over choices. happily both Lise and Michael have an artists eye. I provide the words, which in a calendar turns out to be quite easy.

We hope to have it ready by April...which in a regular calendar might be a problem, but in one that is not year specific should not matter.

Am off to soak in a bubble bath and see if there are any Olympic events on. I love it!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Olympics - Lucy and Janet

overcast, cool. windy, temps minus 5

Michael and I went out for breakfast - to Knowlton. To one of our favorite restaurants in the area...Cafe Floral. And heard the fabulous news that one of the owners, Janet, had been named a Woman of the Year in our area! And...wait for it....another one who'll be honoured as Woman of the Year on International Women's Day in march is...Lucy!!! From Brome Lake Books. Lucy McAuley. Some of you might have been in touch with her when ordering the Vive Gamache mugs - so you know how great Lucy and Danny are.

We are so proud of both of them...imagine we know two of the women honoured! This also hard on the heels of Brome Lake Books being named the Bookstore of the Month in Canada!!! they're on a roll - and deserve to be.

Congratulations to Janet and Lucy.

Am watching the torch relay through Vancouver. Lovely. But terrible news about the fatal luge accident. I was extremely surprised that CTV, the official Canadian host of the Olympics, showed the accident. It was clear to Michael and me, and I suspect anyone watching that we'd just witnessed a fatal accident. No one could survive that. Then they replayed it.

Even CNN, reporting just now, chose not to show the video it was too horrific. They might change their minds - but I think that's the right decision.

My Assistant Lise came by today for a meeting here at World Headquarters. She's working on designing and ordering Three Pines book plates, and those special perpetual calendars that are for birthdays and special anniversaries...that are not year specific, but remind you year after year that your anniversary is Feb 12th.

Oh oh.

Lise is putting all that together, so basically she comes by, tells us all the things she's done while we roasted on the beach, we hug and kiss her and say, "Yes, Lise - please never leave us."

Will be watching the Olympic opening ceremonies tonight.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Dorothy L

light flurries, cool, temps minus 3

Lovely day...winter, without the cruel bite. We've been watching, along with most of NA, the terrible storms on the east coast. poor Baltimore, Washington, Philadephia...New York City. Wow. Of course, the real problem is a loss of power. that's when it gets frightening and dangerous.

We have a large generator here because when we lose power we lose water too. but I know, of course, in cities people don't have generators.

If you're affected by the storms, and I know many of you are - you really are in our thoughts.

We've been having fun watching the Today Show etc in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics. We Canadians don't often wave the flag, but I have to admit to feeling my heart swell when I see Vancouver, Canada on all the TV's and in newspapers. Very proud of how beautiful it looks...and how efficient everything seems to be. Of course, the games haven't even started - so I suppose it's a little early to crow! Still, I'm very happy - and proud - and excited. I love the Winter Olympics. I suppose as a Canadian they just strike a cord. We were raised skiing and skating and doing a lot of the sports...until that great well of laziness was tapped. ow we watch others.

Can hardly wait for the games to begin. In truth, I root for Canadian athletes, but I also often also root for athletes from other countries. Some just have such inspiring, amazing stories. Imagine the work for these young people to get there? And they are all so young. Amazing. Humbling.

Had fabulous news from the website Dorothy L. It's a very prestigious site dedicated to crime fiction, with a bent to traditional mysteries _ ala Dorothy L. Sayers. Every January they poll their members for the top books and favorite writers....

Can you see where this is going....

Well, The Brutal Telling was the top book! And Louise Penny was the favorite writer!!! It actually feels very strange writing this because it feels way too much like bragging. And yet I've told you about other unexpected and wonderful events and honors...not sure why this feels different. and I suppose, really, it is bragging. But I'm just so happy about it. And frankly surprised. But mostly astonished and really, really joyful.

Do you know what I find amazing??? That I live outside a tiny village, in a french speaking province, in a lovely but quiet country - and readers have found my books. And enjoy them. And far from Canada and Quebec being a handicap readers seem to find it a good part of the series...a real benefit.

How open readers are. And how I have benefited by that. Honestly, what are the chances a middle aged woman writing in front of a fireplace in an old farmhouse would be discovered?

When I think of it my heart soars - and I'm aware again that it happened because of you, being open to what appeared to be a small Canadian village mystery series...but is in fact (I hope) set not in a place, but inside all of us. that's the real landscape. They're not about death but really about goodness and kindness, about friendship. About the light, not the darkness.

Enough of this - I just wanted to tell you the great news - and to thank you. I suspect many of you reading this now are also members of Dorothy L. You have a very, very happy author here...and I thank you.

Oh, another bit of news - Michael and I decided to go for our Nexus cards, which would speed our passage through Canadian and US customs. Since we travel so much, especially my air, it is huge to be able to avoid what is often a very long line. In some cases it takes an hour or more of shuffling forward. So we applied and guess what???

Michael got accepted, but I was rejected? Do they know who I am? Apparently they know perfectly well. I'm the idiot who got caught not once, but twice trying to sneak something into Canada. A Lands End bathing suit - then a month later, a restoration Hardware swing arm lamp.

Honestly - what was i thinking? It was humiliating. And apparently the border security people have long memories.

We went for Michael's interview two days ago at the Montreal airport and I explained my situation. The extremely kind (and beautiful - and powerful) customs officials looked up my dossier and discovered the infractions. I asked if maybe, since it was clearly a minor issue, it could just be, well, maybe, erased? (cue huge smile).

No. (cue their huge smiles). These cards are, they explained, for TRUSTED travelers.

They had me there. The irony is that I am actually, now, probably the most trusted traveler you could find. Nothing would entice me to lie at a border now. But the horse has already bolted. I am deemed untrustworthy.

Michael found this both amusing and annoying since we travel together all the time and his being able to sweep through customs means he just has to wait on the other side for his recidivist wife. Well, his fault for marrying me. He should have seen this larcenous streak in me.

But i have to say, the customs people really were very sympathetic and kind - and very helpful when Michael's eyes didn't want to have the retinal scan. Very patient they were. Finally, holding his lids open so wide I was sure the balls would roll out, they got the scan.

Hope you're doing well - and if you've been in the path of the storms, that you haven't been too, too badly affected.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


partly cloudy, cool, temps minus 5

We're home. And as wonderful as Paradise is, well, this is Heaven on earth. Snow everywhere, of course. Another other things, now that Trudy is back. I was tossing her the ball this morning, and digging to try to find the one she'd lost in the deep snow, and realizing that when the spring comes our lawn will be littered with brilliant yellow tennis balls. And poop.

When we got home and pushed open the door (and were greeted by the unique scent of home) the first thing our eyes hit was a vase of fresh tulips! Up the few steps and into the kitchen, on the long pine table.

They were from our friend Kirk down the road, who is also, with Jane Walker (also a friend), our interior decorators. They're wonderful. They'd come over a few times before we left - I might have mentioned it - to choose fabric. We knew we needed the large sofa more or less re-built (a very big, and wide, author had sat there for 5 years writing and now the cushions rested on the floor) we decided we'd bite the bullet and recover the sofa, and two chairs...and might as well do the curtains (previously Ikea specials - I LOVE Ikea, but a little goes a long way). don't you find the 'might-as-well's kill you?

But while we were away Kirk and Jane worked their magic and we came home to fresh tulips and a brand new living room. Oh, it looks beautiful. Feels like a brand new room - warm, fresh, alive and comfortable. Trudy friendly too. But with a simple elegance. I hope. thanks to Kirk and Jane.

The trip home from St. Lucia could not have been easier. We hugged and kissed everyone...feeling very sad to leave the most stunning place, and the most gracious people. There's a saying that no man is a hero to his butler. I can't begin to say what the wonderful Malaika, Amos and Sabie thought of us, but I know what we thought of them. They were kind, thoughtful, dignified, warm.

As an example, on our last night Michael and I decided we'd have dinner at a restaurant called Barfeoot by the Sea...we'd eaten there the night before and adored it. It was scramble seating, which was fine with us...but we had to let Amos know our intention. Next thing we know, he was at the door to escort us down...he'd selected a lovely table on the shore, and sprinkled the table with flower blossoms.

I believe they do this for everyone, but Amos, Sabie and Malaika all made us feel we were the only ones they were caring for.

Never obsequious, always gracious...amazing people.

The resorrt arranged for a chauffer to drive us the 90 minutes to the airport. It's up and down and all around, and through the rain-forest. Glorious. But for a delicate flower like me (motion sickeness) a bit of a trial. So I dramamined up and even tried those pressure-point things you put on your wrist. Something worked because the drive was terrific.

Flight fast - uneventful - 4 hours. We were home and ordering pizza by 9pm.

It still amazes me...breakfast by the shores of the Caribbean and dinner with snow outside our window. We won't talk about lunch, which was an Air Canada special...which is to say, nothing.

We miss St. Lucia. Feel a little lost without someone to care for us - I can definitely see how people grown spoiled and entitled. Funny, but it doesn't seem such a bad thing now.

Mostly we feel lost and a little frightened out of sight of a buffet. We just stand in the kitchen pointing to our open mouths, and nothing happens.

I remember when my mother was alive my brothers and I would marvel that the further away she got from her sofa the odder she became. A transatlantic flight with her was quite an experience.

We feel a bit like with with the Sandals buffet table. But I think we'll survive. once we figure out how to use the oven again.

Breakfast tomorrow with Joan...we're making plans with friends. So wonderful to still have about 3 weeks 'holiday' before starting to write the next book. time to settle in and start structuring it...feeling and fleshing out the characters. Coming up with mis-directions and red herrings...I love that. But I have to stop myself from doing too much. Must leave space for inspiration.

I've decided I need to respectfully decline all invitations for at least march and april - to really concentrate on the writing. But today the phone rang and it was the Sutton Elementary School asking if I'd read to the kids and speak to them as part of their push to get kids passionate about reading.

I couldn't say YES fast enough. I remember when I realized I could be a writer...I was in elementary school.

The downside is that I'm rubbish with kids. Have no idea how to relate to them. I just pretend they're puppies - but that has its limits.

thank you too for all your comments on the blog while I was gone! I read them all but didn't respond since the internet wasn't covered and the rates were frankly ruinous - so I simply wrote real fast blogs...and scanned the comments, enjoying and appreciating them.

I know I say this a lot - but wow, are we lucky. To have had such a blessed and blissful holiday, and to be back in a home and community we love. Doing what I love.

Thanks for coming to St. Lucia! Must see most of our friends fast before the tans fade...already they seem tepid. Well, compared to that glowing, radioactive thing I was a few days ago. Ships at sea were making for me.

Speak to you tomorrow...

Sunday, 7 February 2010

No Pressure, No Problem, No Sun Screen

sunny and hot, temps 90's

Everyone here says, No Pressure, no problem. What a lovely philosophy. And it seems genuine.

had wonderful news from home!!! Our great friends Danny and Lucy, who run Brome Lake books in Knowlton, have been named Bookstore of the Month in Canada. Yay! And so well deserved.

Did Tell you we finally went scuba diving??? I qualified but Michael was hyperventilating. I think Malaika might have walked by. But we went off on the power boat with a bunch of scuba-ers and a bunch of snorklers - and went down. Michael, lovely man, stayed on the boat.

It was sublime - and a little scary. I kept saying to myself...breathe, and don't get cocky. Relax, enjoy, don't eff up.

the colours of the fish were amazing!!!!

Had dinner last night at Barefoot By the Sea - our table was right at the shoreline, with waves lapping a few feet away. under the stars, some tikki torches for light. It was...sublime.

No pressure, no problem.

But yesterday I forgot to put sunscreen on my face! I stayed in the shade all day - but I guess the swimming was enough...and the reflected sun. I now look like someone peeled me. Or I've done some so terribly embarassing I'm blushing. Indeed, I forgot the sunscreen - that's embarrassing. I glow. last night Malaika (our butler..or as Michael says...Mah-lyyyy- ka-ahhh)...said I no longer look like my passport photo and might not be allowed to return to Canada. I also glow in the dark. perhaps it wasn't the Tikki torch lighting our table, but my face.

Honestly, I'm not sure I even look human...but am evolving into a whole new species...very stupid, very lazy and very red.

God - can't imagine how this will look back in Sutton against the snow. My only hope is that it is deradfully cold and people think my face is frozen. Very cold and very hot look the same.

Off to watch the Super Bowl tonight. Our last night. Can't quite believe it.

What fun we've had!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Having More Fun!

sunny, sizzling hot, temps into the 90's

We're having a blast! Desperately, wonderfully, blissfully hot today. Burned the bottom of our feet walking on the sand. Not badly, of course...but we're aware of our soles now.

Before breakfast we dropped by our beach chairs, to drop off our books, only to discover - someone had taken our chairs! Now, back in Canada people get into fights over parking spots, cheating spouces, crack cocaine.

Here it's beach chairs.

The code - we learned early - is if a chair has a beach towel on it, it is taken. If it has a book, it is seriously taken probably by someone close by. Now one of the major advantages to having a butler - 'our butler' - is that they reserve a priome lounge chair on the beach early in the morning. Before we've stirred.

In a blink we have become the entitled. The priviledged. Yes - THOSE snots who reserve beach chairs at 7am and don't sit in them until 10:30.

We have become people we would hate under any other circumstances...except being them. You see - situational ethics.

But instead of being annoyed we...called our butler. We figured maybe our butler could fight their butler. but instead, the wonderful Sabie simply found us other chairs.

it's funny - and we really do laugh about it - but seriously, beach chair theft is a high crime here. Fortunately there are more than enough chairs to go around.

Had fun in the hot tub the other evening asking Michael how to spell scrotum. Wasn't sure I'd spelled it correctly in the last blog, since it isn't a word I often use. He paused then asked in a small, but stern, voice...'Now, why do you want to spell scrotum?'

"I used it in the blog.'

there was a longer pause.


I relented after an excrutiating moment when all sorts of possibilities whizzed through his mind - and explained it was a quote. He seemed relieved.

We are definitely having a great time...and doing what I promised myself to start doing...have more fun.

This qualifies.

the wonderful Richard - King of all butlers - came by our room today to make sure everything was fine. He almost caught us taking an outdoor shower.

How do you spell...

Never mind.

Speak to you soon...we leave Monday...but lots of fun to have before then.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


brilliant sunshine, temps 85

We have had three glorious days! If we'd only stayed for one week - as was our original plan - we might have been disappointed with the weather. last week it rained everyday - somedays all day, most days just off and on. And it was often blustery and overcast. Not dreadful - but unsettled and unsettling.

this week has been splendid.

What a difference it makes.

did I tell you we've been given a Rondoval? It's a top level luxury room - quite a bit better than we'd actually booked for this week. When we were booking all we could get was a concierge level suite (goodbye 'our butler') But the head butler, a man named Richard was so wonderful...he upgraded us again - to this Rondoval overlooking the Caribbean Sea! It has its own jaccuzi hot tub and plunge pool and chaise lounges and patio. Heaven! and inside is even better. It's like a luxury hut or tent...with the middle rising 20 feet to a point. The bathroom has an indoor and outdoor shower...a free standing huge tub...mosaic tiles. and windows everywhere.

We're just in awe - and bliss.

Went to the beach barbeque Monday. Sat with a young couple from Dallas. So sweet - SO young. And gorgeous. And very, very nice. When the young man went up to get her a steak she leaned toward us and said, 'e've been married 3 years and she's still the kindness man I've ever met.'

Isn't kindness wonderful? so often dismissed - mocked even. Mistaken for weakness.

Yesterday we lounged by the beach then went to the nearby Sandals Regency (40 minute bus ride) for dinner at La Toq - the high-end french restaurant.

Today - guess what??? We actually did something. Michael and I signed up for scuba lessons!!! 4 of us in a class with a terrific instructor. A little scary at first. We were given the lesson in a special scuba pool. What a feeling, to go underwater...and take that first breath. Goes against a lifetime of training, of certainty. You cannot breathe underwater. DO NOT breathe underwater. You'll drown.

And then, suddenly, to be able to breathe underwater. Wow. We spent an hour...after which the instructor felt we might need a little more time in the pool before heading out to do a dive in the sea. So we're going back tomorrow! then, we hope, off to sea.

Lovely day.

this is a very insteresting place too, to people-watch. the young couples, the older ones. The people lily white and those all red (me) and those so tanned they look - in the immortal words of Edina Monsoon - like an old man's scrotum.

It's very fun.

Wanted to say HI and touch base. don't forget your sun screen.

Speak soon!