Monday, April 29, 2013

Interview Day: Barbara Fradkin, Author.


Today we’re very excited to have the award winning Ottawa crime writer Barbara Fradkin as our guest on Jamie Tremian. Since 1995 she has been a constant in the Crime writing world with her Inspector Green series.

          Barbara writing at her cottage. It's hard work being an author!


 
            April 16, 2013...
Ottawa launch of The Whisper of Legends! Seeevents for details.
May 9, 2013...
Toronto launch of The Whisper of Legends! Seeevents for details.
  





Pam: You are about to launch your ninth Inspector Green Mystery. What's the secret to his longevity?

Barbara:  In some ways, Green is an “everyman”. He’s not a superhero cop. in fact he’s not a very good cop; he hates his gun, chafes against rules, and balks at working within a team. He’s also not the classic fictional cliché; the rogue cop who’s divorced, alcoholic and living in a garret. Green has a wife and family, lives in a regular home with a yard and barbeque, and like many of us, he struggles to balance those demands with those of his job. In short, most readers can relate.
He is also not static. Over the course of the nine books, I have woven a back story involving his family and colleagues that is constantly evolving and changing, so that in each book Green faces new personal challenges in addition to the case. His relationships to his growing son, rebellious teenage daughter, an aging father, and injured and traumatized co-workers all add a humble touch.

Pam:  I see Inspector Michael Green as a maverick, albeit an unrealistic one. He seeks justice but tends to go against police protocol. A loose cannon. What is the attraction for us that our heroes sometimes step out of line and push the envelope?

Barbara: Fictional heroes go where we dare not go but wish we could. Green tilts at windmills and charges the barricades in the cause of justice. We are constrained by so much in our real lives. We usually prefer to live safely within the laws and expectations of society rather than risk losing our place in it, but sometimes that can be really frustrating, particularly when we see injustices. Fictional heroes rebel against their bosses and take on the bad guys in our name.

Pam:  Your affinity for the dark side is manifested in portrayals within your Inspector Green books – do you think we all have a ‘dark side’?

Barbara: Absolutely. I believe everyone is capable of homicide, given the right circumstances and the right motive.  That is what I find fascinating about writing crime novels. Mysteries explore what people do when they are desperate and pushed to the edge, what choices they make and how they cope with the aftermath. 

Pam: Your twenty-five years as a child psychologist has given you a rare insight not many of us get into the human psyche. How much does this knowledge influence your work as an author?

Barbara: Being a psychologist influences my writing in many ways, from the themes I choose to the range of people I can write about. But probably the most powerful influence has been on my characters. Creating vivid characters is all about empathy. A writer has to be able to step into the head and slip into the skin of the character he is creating. Psychologists spend their lives trying to see the world from the other person’s point of view. Fictional people are no different.

Pam: Many authors use music in their prose to explain the nuances of their protagonist. Is Inspector Green partial to a particular genre of music?

Barbara: Green is a classic rock kind of guy, like me. Although he picks music to suit his mood, from soothing to rousing, he does tend towards rebellious but artistic rock. Often Canadian, like The Tragically Hip, The Tea Party, and Our Lady Peace . His daughter is trying to bring him into the twenty-first century.

Pam: I enjoyed reading your latest Rapid Read by ORCA featuring handyman Cedric O’Toole. Can you share with us the concept behind these books? 

Barbara: Orca is a Canadian publisher well known for its children’s and YA books, and it has an established line of high-interest/ low vocabulary books for readers struggling in school.  But adults with literacy challenges or limited English skills had no similar books at their level, so Orca approached established mystery authors with a proposal to write entertaining, easy-read books that would grip readers from the first page.  Thus Rapid Reads was born. I created Cedric O’Toole as a character many of these readers who could identify with, a man with skilled hands but limited literacy who uses his inventive mind to solve mysteries.

Pam: How do you deal with facing a blank page and having no inspiration? Do you walk the dog, take to drink or just walk away until the muse strikes again?

Barbara: All of those things, plus a lot of swearing and muttering. Often I will set the story aside and do something mundane like walking the dog or emptying the dishwasher. In that time I am usually playing with questions. What if? What would so-and-so do next? Often asking what is the logical next thing to occur in a story, or what would this particular character do next, helps me come up with a way forward.

Pam: I read in your bio that you’ve been writing since you were six. Who was your biggest influence or favourite author growing up?

Barbara: I grew up in a house absolutely crammed with books, all jumbled on shelves in seemingly senseless disorder. When we children were young my parents would read us chapters from the classics like Dickens and L.M. Montgomery. Loved all the Anne books. When I could read well enough by myself I started browsing the shelves in the house at random, reading Russian novelists along with American and Canadian classics like Faulkner and MacLennan. The books that stuck with me were those with powerful characters with moral struggles. The Russians were great for that.

Pam:  Research is important for any book. Do you feel it’s necessary to visit the place your characters inhabit?

Barbara: To create the most vivid impression of the place, including the sounds and smells, it’s far better to visit the place or someplace very similar. If that’s not possible, research it from as many angles as possible, including interviewing people, reading books, and scouring the internet. Luckily the internet has revolutionized writing. I was able to Google the Nahanni River on YouTube and get videos of canoeists running specific rapids, complete with screams. The next best thing to being there.

Pam: Aspiring writers like Jamie Tremain live in constant anticipation of their book being accepted for publication. Do you have any ‘words of wisdom’ for these newbies to the publishing world?

Barbara: Write the next book, and try to make it even better. I wrote several really bad books before I wrote the first one that got published. I didn’t know they were bad at the time, but trust me, I am extremely grateful now that no one published them. I was complaining once about getting rejected, and my good friend Mary Jane Maffini said to me “You will get published, Maybe you haven’t yet written the book yet that will get published.” Thank you, Mary Jane.

Pam: One last question. Your event calendar is pretty full this year. Do you enjoy the marketing of your books and being on the road? And when do you find time for Barbara?

Barbara: Sometimes I don’t! But getting out of my garret to meet the readers who enjoy my books are a terrific source of energy and inspiration.  Finding a balance is a challenge, however. And when writing a first draft, as I am now, I also have to write for several hours a day in order to keep up the momentum. But this isn’t really any different from my years when I raised three children while working full time, driving in car pools, getting the shopping done, etc. In short, coping with the demands and pace that most of us live our lives. Relaxing with a glass of wine at the end of the day while watching a great BBC drama is often enough to recharge the batteries.  

Pam: Thanks Barb for spending the time with us on Jamie Tremain-Remember the Name. We wish you much success with your latest ‘The Whisper of Legends’.


Barbara Fradkin
Barbara Fradkin was born in Montreal and attended McGill and the Universities of Toronto and Ottawa, where she obtained her PhD in clinical psychology. Her work as a child psychologist provided ample inspiration for plotting murders, until she retired from practice to spend more time with her pen and her fertile imagination. Her dark short stories haunt numerous magazines and anthologies, including the Ladies Killing Circle series, and she also writes an easy-read novella series for Orca Books. However, she is best known for her award-winning detective series, featuring the exasperating, quixotic Ottawa Police Inspector Michael Green whose passion for justice and love of the hunt often interferes with family, friends, and police protocol. Two of these novels have won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Canadian Crime novel.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spring Has Sprung


What a glorious spring day here in south western Ontario. Finally some agreeable weather.  Managed to sit outside on the patio, read a few pages of  Fever Dream by Preston & Child and bask in the comforting warmth of a late afternoon sun.   I might even have dozed off there for a moment or too.  Heavenly!

Pam and I squeezed in a couple of hours on-line earlier, working hard to have our short story all polished up for submission to Scene of the Crime later next month.   Fortunately she is planning on spending a writing day here next Saturday so it will be the time for final touches.   No surprise that having to limit a story to stay within a word-limited guideline makes this exercise quite challenging.

I’ve probably spent as much time on my computer today as I do at work.  First thing today  I needed to wind up this month’s newsletter for work and send it off, and then it was time to review a 45 page document received late yesterday afternoon in preparation for a 9:00 am meeting on Monday.  Welcome to the last minute club!  After that I started working on what Pam had sent until she came online a little later.  Still have a few pages left to review, perhaps we can carve out some time tomorrow.

Sunday afternoon will see my family gather to celebrate my granddaughter’s first communion  - an event I wouldn’t want to miss.  Plus it presents an opportunity for us to gather and catch up on what’s been happening.  Even though we all live with ten or fifteen minutes of each other, lives are busy and schedules rarely mesh.

The delivery of two hundred plus chairs went well Thursday evening.  Out with the old and in with the new.  So far comments on the new seating seems favourable.  With help from a couple other staff working late, we did manage to complete the task in two hours.  As fast as the delivery people offloaded new chairs, we were whipping them to their new locations and moving the line up of old chairs towards the elevator.  Quite the production.

When it was time to leave, a spring downpour was in progress, but the rain felt so good as I walked to my car.  And then I was blessed to see the most magnificent rainbow, brilliant and stretching in a perfect half circle over buildings and highway.  Others at work the next morning commented on it as well.  A fitting end to a very long day.

And a last minute reminder to stay tuned for Pam’s planned interview with Barbara Fradkin here on Monday. You won’t want to miss it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend – Cheers!

Liz

Friday, April 26, 2013

A picture by any other name..


    I have never been accused of being a good photographer. In fact, some say I am pretty bad. But I do like to snap family and friends whenever we are together. I have a very nice digital that you just point and shoot and in my case, hope for the best. I never check for lighting, but I do like to use the zoom.
    Last week at the Arthur Ellis short list event at the Indigo store in downtown Toronto, I was determined to record all the highlights of this gathering with some of my favourite authors. I sat in the front row and clicked away to my heart’s content, until the battery ran out. First rule- check battery before leaving home.  I did not look at the pictures until I returned home. I took about twenty pictures, and only one is presentable. The others were unprintable.
   The microphone was in Cathy Astolfos face, Janet Bolin was showing us her best scowl and
 Alison Bruce disappeared behind the podium. The others were too dark to tell who they were or they would be suing me for showing them in an unflattering light.

    I did capture the glamorous guest speaker Joy Fielding. Alas, I missed the opportunity to show you her red patent pointy toed stilettos with butterfly tattoos flying around her ankles. Melodie Campbell was bookended by a contemplative Robert Rotenberg and Howard Shrier in ‘the thinker’ pose.
Please follow the links for more information on these authors.

Lets hope my writing skills are better than my photography.

Slainte,
Pam

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Extreme Moves


Not to be confused with HGTV’s Massive Moves,  which is a program I enjoy sitting back and watching the stress folks put themselves under to move that perfect house across town or hundreds of miles away. The planning and logistics involved are mind boggling, and oh, how they love to speculate on how much could go wrong.  But aside from some plaster cracks and a blown tire here and there, the moves I've seen have all been successful.

Friday just past saw me deal with my own massive move – at work.  The distance much farther than anything seen so far on TV.  And apparently, after the fact, I was told such a move had not been undertaken with the company before.  All in a day’s work for this desk bound nine to fiver.  Starting at 6:30 (that would be a.m.) and with only a forty minute break, I worked for almost eight hours to move thousands of files, electronically, between Vancouver and Toronto.  It may not have been a physically demanding activity, but I was tired afterwards.

That was one move.  Next up, is the replacement and delivery of more than 200 office chairs.  Due to arrive at 5:00 pm tomorrow, it’s about time these twelve year old chairs were replaced. The scuffed and torn armrests, and  I don’t even want to talk about the mystery stains, attest to the wear and tear they’ve seen.  I’ll be staying to help the manager in charge of the delivery and if we can round up one or two other willing helpers the switch out should go faster than expected.  Although it’s ominous that the delivery company booked the freight elevator until 11:00 pm!  Comfy clothes and running shoes will be the order of the day.

And if that’s not enough fun, just for kicks, next week sees the installation of brand new, technologically advanced desk phones.  The phones have been parked on our work stations for a few weeks now with dire warnings not to touch, but they go ‘live’ next week, and yes I’m involved with that as well.   My upcoming vacation time in May will be much needed.   And apologies Pam, but I think you can see why my Jamie Tremain time has been at a bare minimum this week.

But the time approaches for a favourite mid-week break – Survivor.  I’m a long-time fan and for anyone watching, I hope you’d agree this season has been one of the best in a long time.  Every week brings unexpected surprises and fodder for discussion next day at work.

Enjoy the rest of your week and I do believe it really is Spring and not just a rumour…although flurries have been blasting by as I write!

Cheers!

Liz

Friday, April 19, 2013

Prove You're NOT a Robot



Cyber bots have found Jamie Tremain.

Bloggers want comments – it gives vindication to our existence and reassures us that our posts are being read.  Desiring comments, we’ve tried to make this blog as user friendly as possible.  We turned off the word verification thing – often you can’t decipher what code is being requested anyway – deciding instead to moderate posts, which are attended to as quickly as possible.  I get its purpose, but really sometimes its ridiculous, and have personally given up in frustration on other sites because of it.   A quick google search on the subject finds no fans.  Seems to have become a necessary evil of the internet.  Perhaps eye scans will be next.    However, a similar idea to prevent telemarketers from getting through on the phone would have a lot of appeal for yours truly!

Pam has had a busy week in the writing world and she’ll soon be posting on her activities of last night – The Arthur Ellis Short List.   Can I bemoan the fact that I’m missing out?  Working to pay the bills, just like word verification, is a necessary evil. Although I enjoy my work and the colleagues I spend each day with, I wish I could be in two places at the same time!  And even more I’d love to have my day structured around the writing life instead of trying to fit it around my working life!  

But I digress – back to the trouble with spam. This week’s spam offerings were quickly dispatched to where they belong – the trash.  However, one struck me as humorous enough to share.  English as a first language is obviously not a strong point of the cyber-bot, but I can see the connections.

A tooth (plural teeth) is a cheap, calcified, whitish order initiate in the jaws (or mouths) of many vertebrates and used to defeat down food. Some animals, surprisingly carnivores, also exercise teeth repayment for hunting or for defensive purposes. The roots of teeth are covered nearby gums. Teeth are not made of bone, but to a certain extent of multiple tissues of varying density and hardness. The general systematize of teeth is nearly the same across the vertebrates, although there is of distinction modulation in their shape and position. The teeth of mammals be struck by deep roots, and this design is also initiate in some fish, and in crocodilians. In most teleost fish, manner, the teeth are partial to to the outer outside of the bone, while in lizards they are fixed devoted to to the inner come up of the jaw by way of a man side. In cartilaginous fish, such as sharks, the teeth are seconded around cold ligaments to the hoops of cartilage that accumulate the jaw.

And now its time for me to go and defeat down some food.

Have a good weekend – and hey, if you enjoyed the blog, why not sign up for email alerts.  We’ve made that easy too.  Just up and over to the right above our photo.   Easy peasy.

Cheers!
Liz

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ladies who lunch



My definition of ‘Ladies who lunch’’;  Women with a lot of time on their hands who meet with  girlfriends and talk about nothing important and gossip.

I was wrong on many counts. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladies_who_lunch

Ladies who lunch is a phrase often used to describe well-off, well-dressed women who meet for social luncheons, usually during the working week. Typically, the women involved are married and non-working. Normally the lunch is in a high-class restaurant, but could also take place in a department store during a shopping trip. Sometimes the lunch takes place under the pretext of raising money for charity.

Ladies who lunch are often seen as lacking substance. I’m full of substance..cookies, cheese cake etc. How dare they say that about me!

1. I’m not well off. In the money sense that is.
2. Well dressed? I clean up pretty good and can throw an outfit together, but I hardly wear couture now that I’m collecting OAP.
3. I score one for being married and non-working. At least at a paying job. Writing is hard work!
4. I consider a high class restaurant one that has clean cutlery and glasses and the music is not too loud. The food should be edible. I can always manage the shopping trip.
5. I’ve done my share of charity work but never discussed it over lunch.

So my social calendar is filling up. Yesterday I met two retired friends from my last place of employment. This can be classified as a ladies lunch. Nothing too high-class, but decent. Both are married and between us we have three husbands, eleven children and sixteen grandchildren. That gave us plenty to talk about.

Today I’m meeting with a writers group at an eatery where I know the food is good but high class? I’ll update you in a future post.

Arthur Ellis Short List
Thursday the 18th. I’ll be making my way to downtown Toronto. Indigo at the Manulife centre on Bloor. This event is simultaneously happening in Ottawa and Vancouver.

 The Arthur Ellis Awards
for Excellence in
Canadian Crime Writing
The Arthur Ellis Awards, established in 1984 and named after the nom de travail of Canada's official hangman, are awarded annually by the CWC in the following categories.
For published works:
Best Crime First Novel 
Best Crime Novel
Best Crime Novella (3-yr pilot) 
Best Crime Short Story
Best French Crime Book(Fiction and Nonfiction) 
Best Juvenile or YA Crime Book(Fiction and Nonfiction) 
Best Nonfiction Crime Book
 For unpublished authors:
for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel

 The Arthur Ellis Awards are for CRIME WRITING, and are not restricted to mystery writing. Crime-writing encompasses far more than the traditional whodunit. The crime genre includes crime, detective, espionage, mystery, suspense, and thriller writing, as well as fictional or factual accounts of criminal doings and crime-themed literary works. If you are not certain that your submission qualifies as a crime book or story, please contact us at:
info@crimewriterscanada.com or publications@crimewriterscanada.com

 I’m really looking forward to this event. Joy Fielding is the guest speaker and other authors will be reading from their books.


I will report on this event at the weekend.
Talk soon, must get ready for my second lunch out this week. Better make it a salad today.

Slainte,
Pam








Saturday, April 13, 2013

Blame Game





The Groundhog should be shot.  The Groundhog got it wrong. He lied!  Poor groundhog – such responsibility to bear and he can’t even talk!  Never mind that he’s annually disturbed from a nice winter snooze to suit our purposes.  Perhaps this is his payback for years of abuse and who could blame him?  Or perhaps it’s the fault of ever optimistic golf courses announcing they’d be open April 11.  Oh, and the fact that I switched out my winter tires for new all season tires on Thursday would have nothing to do with it either.  For those who live in my neck of the woods I don’t have to explain the lovely weather we’ve endured the past couple of days.  Yesterday morning, I stood in the teeming rain for almost twenty minutes trying to hack off the coat of ice on my car.  Only to sit for the next forty minutes in rain soaked jeans as I took a slow drive to work.

We love to blame don’t we?

But now the weekend has arrived and while it’s still dreary and damp out there I’m happy I can stay put, cozy and warm.  Some chores beckon, but after that, coffee and writing are on the agenda.  Unless it doesn’t happen and then I’ll have to blame the headache pounding away – a coffee and aspirin will hopefully put that to rest in short order.

I spoke of Pinterest last time and yesterday followed a link on Twitter to a commentary on The Creative Penn using Pinterest as a marketing tool for writing and publishing. Some helpful advice there and I’ll see what I can do to incorporate myself and Jamie Tremain into this new found and enjoyable internet tool.  (Time I added the word Pinterest to my computer’s dictionary!)

Enjoyed the day with Pam last Saturday – lunch at Stoney’s was not a disappointment at all!  Then stopped by for a short visit (tea and scones) with my sister and her husband.   And we've diarized May 4 as our next day to hook up -  the plan is to finalize our short story entry for Scene of the Crime.   As well, this week we received back another instalment of review from our CWC mentor, AlisonBruce, so there’s discussion and revising to be done on Body Perfect.  Hoping that Pam and I can do some online chatting later today.

Don’t forget to stay tuned for April 29’s interview between Pam and Barbara Fradkin.   So there’s a reminder and if you miss it, you can’t blame me!

Have a great weekend - and cut the groundhog some slack - he's probably not happy either.

Cheers!
Liz

Monday, April 8, 2013

A day in the life of Jamie Tremain.

Little did we know that summer in 2007. Nearly six years have passed since we started two books simultaneously- Madelaine -Shadows and Light has been delegated to a bottom drawer (to be exhumed at a later date), and Body Perfect is looking for a home

It has been an incredible journey and a big learning curve for both of us. A desire to write and a story to tell is not always enough. We attend workshops and conferences and read the latest “How to sell a Blockbuster” kind of books as well as the latest from Mystery/ Crime writers we admire. This gives us the much needed insight into the minefield of the publishing world today. Should we self publish, do we need an editor, agent or publisher? How many drafts are good enough? Is it better to send online or through the mail? The questions are endless. Should we try and publish in an eBook format?

When we started out, Liz and I would give up a lunch or coffee break to read our work to each other. It’s still the best way to pick up mistakes in tone and style. When two people are writing the aim is that the writing will be seamless. Fortunately for the book we are on the same page as far as the outline goes and then the fun starts. After agreeing in principal on the characters we let them speak for themselves. Sometimes Liz will be off in a direction I hadn’t thought off. With the same character I will turn a corner and the protagonist is doing something else. When we do come face to face, usually once a month, we iron out any problems.

Saturday was one of our get together days. Liz was coming to Oakville and as well as loads of work to get through we did manage a birthday lunch for Liz (overdue) at Stoney’s and then a cappuccino and a lemon square at Monastery bakery. We both would have preferred a nap after lunch, but we struggled through a short story we are writing for a Scene of the Crime contest in August. We’re looking forward to this festival. More in a later post.
As well as this blog we are on Twitter and LinkedIn. At least Liz is. I am on Facebook and contribute to the blog, and now Liz has set me up with Pinterest. I’ll give it a shot- maybe. Now that I'm retired and home all day, it is tempting to be on social networks all the time. When do we find time to write? When does Liz get on these networks? Oh yeah, she has one of those smart phones.

So, you get the idea. Liz is the technical expert and I’m not, but I do contribute to this partnership.

I hope you have enjoyed the last two interviews; Alison Bruce and Melodie Campbell. If you missed them check the right hand column.

At the end of this month set your calendar for the 29th . I will be interviewing Barbara Fradkin. She has just launched her ninth Inspector Green mystery.

Check back frequently to see who is next for a grilling from Pam.

We’ve found the writing community to be helpful and gracious in showing us the way in our quest for publication. I’m lunching on the 16th with nine fellow writers. Some published, some not. I will be picking their brains for nuggets of information in this process.


Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pinterest!


Hooked on Pinterest - the discovery has recently been made and the unlimited reach and variety of the  web has drawn me in!    Boards – public AND secret?   Followers and following.  Unlimited DIY ideas, crafts, recipes.  Oh and animals - lots of smiles and 'awe's as I scroll through pictures pinned by others.  Taking precedence are cats – from a magnificent Ligar (cross between a lion and tigress) to Norwegian Forest cats. Noble and stunning horses are also finding their way onto my boards.  All things books, and oh, what a great place to line up those unattainable celebrity crushes!  Both current day and from long ago teenage angst.   For example James Drury – TheVirginian from the early ‘70’s..such a crush I had on that cowboy!  Anyone else remember that western? Today’s equivalent is Jon Hamm….apparently a tall dark, brooding, and handsome theme still runs through my veins!

Not to mention being able to gather all things Star Trek and Tolkien.    It’s like having a library and craft room all in one tiny  but unlimited  space – my computer.  With the beauty of not having to dust anything!  However the question is – how will this benefit my pursuit of writing and is there room for Jamie Tremain amidst the boards.   Pinterest is fast becoming another popular social media and I believe I can see some benefits – networking with other authors and writers for one.   How neat to have a spot to gather, and organize, books related to this wonderful community of writers.

Tomorrow is a planned Jamie Tremain day as I trek off to spend it with Pam in Oakville – she has promised a lunch at Stoney’s – if we can get in the door!  Then we need to work on our collaborative offering for the Scene of the Crime short story contest – due next month.  How to merge two different endings into one tale – there’s a challenge.  Lots of coffee please!

Pam will have another interview to post by month’s end – its sure to be a good read.  Make sure you keep checking back so as not to miss it!   And feel free to join me on Pinterest – who knows what ideas I’ll be able to ‘pin’ from you!

Cheers

Liz

Monday, April 1, 2013

To clean or not to clean that is .... (apologies to Will)



It’s that time of year again and the cobwebs and dust bunnies have gathered in the corners. The light is different this time of year and honestly, I just noticed the swaying of a web over the skylight. My philosophy regarding housework is.....drum roll....  ‘Its always gonna be there.’ General cleanup; making beds and wiping down the bathroom are always done. Dusting and vacuuming I do on a whim and I clean up after I cook. Re-decorating and gardening is another kind of work but that is something I plan.

I was in the workforce for fifty years, bar a couple of years at home with my three children and housework was never a priority. I’m of an age that women who entered the workforce in the sixties felt they could do it all. Working to “bring home the bacon and cook it too” as the song goes. That was the refrain of the day. Super woman or Wonder woman names were bandied about, but that was not for me.

Many women schedule chores for different days of the week. Monday wash, Tuesdays cook for the week, etc, as well as taking their children to extracurricular activities. The men of my generation did not do ‘housework” and mine is no different. I’m sure there are exceptions to that rule. Garbage and recycling, loading the dishwasher is his repertoire. At my peril he picks up groceries especially if we are out of his favourites. I’ve been told I did not train him right...I’ve no intention of training anyone.

Are you thinking I live in a dirty house? Well that is not quite true. I have my own method of housekeeping; clean beds, clean clothes, clean toilets and kitchen. The rest of the house gets cleaned and tidied when I have the notion or we’re expecting company. I am a great believer in closets, or, what you can’t see is not there. I am from the school, run around and tidy up by cramming things behind doors. That’s what they’re for, are they not?

Washing is done weekly to save on the water bill and hydro, but the ironing.... I always have ironing. I can hear many of you groan. Ironing? What’s that, says anyone under the age of fifty.
Reading a good book or visiting friends (in their clean and tidy homes of course) or a million other things is preferable.

Spring cleaning, Fall cleaning and getting ready for Christmas cleaning is usually done in one day. Hopefully it is overcast, as I would hate to waste a sunny day. I work so hard that day I need about three weeks to recover and by then the house is a mess again. Last minute invites are always welcome if I am in the middle of a cleaning spree.

Is it laziness or procrastination? I admit to a bit of both, but I would still rather be in the garden reading than weeding. If cleanliness is next to Godliness, I’d better pull up my socks- that’s after I finish reading my book.