Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the old year and in with the new!

I have been giving this post a lot of thought. 2011 has been an exceptional year in the sense that madness appeared everywhere. Uprisings around the world and dictators dethroned. The miseries of dealing with an earthquake/tsunami; along with extreme weather everywhere. (One of my favourite towns, Goderich, on the Bruce Peninsula in southern Ontario, was decimated by a tornado last August.) Monetary woes have affected many parts of the world and if the pundits are right it is not going away anytime soon. I could go on and on about the hardships, but in my own world things were balanced by the birth of five babies to friends and family. There is nothing better than a new baby to keep everyone smiling. We attended three weddings and it was great to see that love and commitment is still alive. There was also the death of a few friends in our immediate family who will be sorely missed.

The past year was also a year of celebration. Milestone birthdays and my retirement. I am finished, I think, of my period of adjustment to this very different way of life. It is what I dreamed off. Finally having the time to concentrate on writing and doing the things I want to do. Yesterday I visited Liz at my old office for lunch and we were joined by two friends. I was going to visit my old office but I felt it was time to step away and get on with the rest of my life. Liz and I made a few dates for our get together in a few weeks.

The Bloody Words conference in June is big on our agenda. http://www.bloodywords2012.com/ also joining Crime Writers of Canada. http://www.crimewriterscanada.com/ The push to have our book Body Perfect is officially in high gear, so watch this space for news.

Santa was good to me this year as usual but receiving gift cards to Chapters is among my favourites. It took me three days to read Louise Penny’s A Trick of the Light. Brilliant! If you have not read this author I advise you to get a copy of her seventh novel. http://louisepenny.blogspot.com/ I also read The HELP. By Kathryn Stockett. Another book that was hard to put down. Look forward to seeing the movie.

On my bedside table is the third in the series of Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. As I am a knitter I picked up the first book as general interest and found the characterization was terrific. Not usually the genre I read but good writing is good writing http://www.katejacobs.com/bio.html

I also have Getting Rid of Rosie by Lynda Simmons. Lynda is my college instructor in novel writing and she has another book out I will get to shortly called Island Girl. http://www.lyndasimmons.com/

Liz and I hope to get together with another Oakville writer, the indomitable Melodie Campbell in the near future to pick her brains. Her latest book is Rowena through the Wall. http://www.melodiecampbell.com/Home_Page_2YMR.html

Thanks to everyone who has supported us in our writing efforts this past year. Jamie Tremain wishes you all the best of everything in 2012.

Happy Hogmanay. Google it if you don’t know what it means!
Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam

Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 Here We Come


Tick, tick, tick...the minutes are slipping away faster and faster as 2011 draws to a close.  We live in such a fast paced world and our days ahead seem to get pre-planned with meetings and events and things to do.  More than one person has recently commented that this past Christmas seemed to arrive and depart at break neck speed – not always leaving time to nurture and enjoy the spirit of the season properly.  Although health issues with close friends are a good reminder that we do need to treasure the moment we live in and that blessings that surround us amid  challenging times.

For Jamie Tremain, this past year saw the biggest change with Pam’s retirement and her opportunity to attend writing classes which have benefited us both.  We look forward to Bloody Words2012, held this year in Toronto and are definitely planning on attending! 

Polishing Body Perfect as much as possible is the goal in order to have it appeal to a publisher or agent to work with.  While we do have a second story involving Paul and Dorothy brewing (four chapters and more already) and are anxious to get into some ‘new’ writing, we both feel it is worth investing time and energy into an already well-liked story so that it sells!   We are very grateful to our loyal readers who have read both Madelaine and more recently Body Perfect.  Their feedback and suggestions are taken most seriously and always welcomed.  But if we have entertained any readers with our tales then that is a source of pride for sure.

Pam is planning on joining up with myself and a couple of good friends for lunch today so it will be nice to wish her Happy New Year in person. 

My wish for all of you as we close the door on 2011 and open up 2012 is to count your blessings, be kind to one another and have a safe, healthy and Happy New Year!

Cheers!

Liz

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Five More Now!


Yes, Christmas is nearly upon us!  Unlike Pam I can find little enjoyment in rushing from store to store, enduring line ups and parking woes. To be fair though, I’m sure there is a huge difference when the work day is not part of the picture, but I will have to wait a few more years to find out for myself.  Seems we get so caught up in all the bustle of the season that we often lose focus on the real benefits; time spent with family and friends; a time to reflect on the meaning of what we are celebrating and what is really important in our busy lives.

Having said that, I made a quick stop on the way home from work yesterday to pick up one last minute item for little ones on my list and one other  gift.  Otherwise all is done, and wrapped and ready for giving.   Our family get together will be Friday evening in order to accommodate one and all with work schedules.

At work, the food and toy drive surpassed last year’s by leaps and bounds, with the Salvation Army being very appreciative of the number of gifts donated for children age 10 and older – this is an age group which doesn’t get as much attention as younger tots.    Kudos to all who took the time to think of others they will probably never know and help make their Christmas day a little nicer.

But like Pam, I do bemoan the lack of snow for Christmas – none in the forecast either.      I know its better for travellers, but there’s nothing like seeing soft snow falling on a Christmas Eve to set the mood.   Forecasts have been known to change, right?

Work loads are easing somewhat in these few remaining days of 2011, giving us a breather of sorts.  Who knows what the New Year will bring – so time to do some desk cleaning and file organizing while the opportunity exists!   Taking some Christmas music with me this morning to listen to while I work.

Along with Pam (and Jamie Tremain) I wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas – be safe, enjoy family and friends and remember why it is that we celebrate Christmas.

Cheers!

Liz


Monday, December 19, 2011

Six more sleeps!

Only six more sleeps to go!
Christmas this year is very different for me. I honestly enjoyed the rushing around and trying to shop after work, scrambling to get that elusive toy for one of the kids. The traffic was always horrendous, and the line ups long as tired sales clerks stuff your goods in a bag. I usually lost my list so I always forgot something, then it was a mad dash back to the store before it closed. But, there was a sense of accomplishment. Exhaustion...even!

Not so circa, December 2011. Now that my school classes are over I have all the time in the world to shop. ( I should be writing but I am on a small hiatus) This morning I rose at 8am, had breakfast and drove to the mall. Absolutely no traffic. Lots of parking. Hit two department stores, the bank, drycleaners and a sporting goods store. I still had my list stuffed in my coat pocket. I could go to the book store and buy all my grandchildren their age appropriate books because I had them on my list. Very pleasant sales associate who was helpful as well. I was done out of my usual rant to the person in line beside me about how rude the sales people are. No, it was all very pleasant. No pushing and shoving, no children crying because they are tired and hungry. Where is the fun in that? It’s only 11.30 and I am now home. The wrapping should take all of an hour and then I am finished except for the knitting.I promised a few people I would knit them a Christmas present, Liz included. I did not say what year they would receive my homespun creations!

And what is with this green Christmas thing? I can’t even complain about the freezing temperatures or the slush and mountains of snow. Sun shining and dry roads. Wheese! Maybe I will leave my grocery shopping until Friday or Saturday and there should be a nice line up at the liquor store by then. I can hear you saying... “Get a life woman”. I know, I know. I am still in a period of adjustment to this retired life.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas however you wish to spend your time preparing for it. Enjoy your time with family and friends and spread lots of good cheer and remember the reason for the season.

Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam

Monday, December 5, 2011

That Feels Better!


No work until December 12; no alarm clock and no lunch to pack.  No competing with aggressive 18-wheelers on the highway, or ignorant 4-wheelers either.   My last few vacation days of the year are now here.

Don’t be misled – there are quite a few items on my ‘to do’ list for these days.  Dentist and Doctor appointments and Christmas shopping.  Ideally I hope to have the shopping all wrapped up tomorrow.   Oh, and some reading.   Currently I have three books on the go.

Here at home I’m reading “The Help”, borrowed from a co-worker and want to be able to return it to her on Monday.  Enjoying it very much and want to finish reading it before watching the movie.  Also, I’m nearly at the end of “Scarpetta” – Patricia Cornwell is one of my favourite authors and while this one took a little longer to get into than normal, I’m loathe to put it down now.    At work, I always keep a book in my desk drawer, for those lunch times when I find I’m on my own.  For now I’m reading my first Jodi Picoult –" Nineteen Minutes".  I’m taken with her writing and the topic is so timely – I’d highly recommend it.

Pam finishes up with her writing class this week I believe. We are both very much looking forward to the New Year and focusing on getting back in our own world of writing.  She has brought some good insight and techniques learned from the class from which we will both be able to benefit.  We have tentatively scheduled a full day of writing soon after the New Year. 

Next week begins a round of get togethers and luncheons marking the Christmas season.  And as the time gets closer to Christmas more and more staff will be on vacation, which equals  fewer problems to deal with for yours truly!   The Food and Toy drive as mentioned earlier is in full swing and we are optimistic to more than surpass our goal from last year.

As well today marked my meeting with my manager for the final year end review of accomplishments, challenges and everything in between at work.  The rating given on the review affects any year end bonus and so it is eagerly anticipated by all; a necessary evil for a well earned reward.  But now it starts all over again for 2012 – oh may there be a book deal in the works for Pam and I! 

And now its time to relax as the evening winds down and I’ll put away my list of what needs doing for now.....tomorrow is another day.

Cheers!

Liz