musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Less than an hour remains until 2006 gets underway. The goal ... write an entire novel, from scratch, in just 30 days. My plot began to sprout a couple of weeks ago, then characters started hanging around, whispering, cajolling, nagging ... write me! No, me first! The old AlphaSmart is charged up and ready to go and, once midnight rolls around, I'll be typing The First Sentence. Just 50,000 words to go ... let's get writing!

Friday, October 27, 2006


Sam gets into the Halloween spirit." It's not easy being green..."

Sam gets into the Halloween spirit. "I'll get you for this, woman. Be afraid."

Happy Halloween! Sam is trick-or-treating at , at Sunday's (hosted this week by Watermark), and at KAYAKSOUP, for the Halloween edition of Weekend Cat Blogging.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

bah, humbug?

Only two months 'til Christmas! At Ye Olde Day Jobbe, that means it's time to start planning our annual staff get-together. Being a very small company you might think it would be easy to organize a once-a-year festive event, but consider that the eight of us, perpetually beset by deadlines, work in three different locations, 100 to 200 kilometres apart. The logistics begin to get a bit dicey. Oh, and let's not forget the likelihood of snow to make the driving dicey, too. (This is Canada, after all.) But driving and distance pale in comparison to our real dilemma this year: great expectations.

You see, somewhere along the line we moved beyond the simple 'lunch at a good restaurant'. Last year, for instance, we met at Langdon Hall in Cambridge, where the women in our group indulged in a decadent morning at the spa. (I had the Indian Head Massage and it was soooooooo relaxing and wonderful ... I still get all fuzzy and mellow, just thinking about it.) Afterwards, we met up with the men for a delicious lunch in Chef Gushue's award-winning dining room. Hard to beat!

Sure, we could do it all over again but for some reason the men among us don't wish to partake of the spa — no amount of coaxing will convince them — and it doesn't seem fair for the three of them to be left out again. As a result, we've spent entirely too much time this week researching possibilities. We came up with a few interesting (and elegant) potential destinations for lunch but, apparently, once the fun bar has been raised "just lunch" is ... well, just boring.

And then we discovered TryThat{!}: The Experience Company Need an adventure? This might be the place to start. For instance, "Zipline Extreme - Spend a unique and exciting day at the Elora Gorge. Get ready to propel yourself from the edge of an 80 foot cliff. Zipline and then rappel from mid-air down to the riverbed. No experience necessary."


I don't think so!

On the other hand, the 'Flight Simulator' and 'Mission Impossible' sound pretty darned cool.

On yet another hand, concensus among the eight of us might prove elusive with so much fun on the menu — everything from wine tasting, to Formula 2000 racing, to ... pole dancing{!}?

Y'know, maybe "just lunch" isn't such a bad idea after all.

Friday, October 20, 2006

a jug of wine, a loafing cat...

a jug of wine, a loafing cat...
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, a wine by its label or a cat by...well, really, when it comes to cats it's more a case of 'judge not, lest ye be judged'. But I digress.

It's confession time. This week, I chose a bottle of wine solely because of its label. In my defense, though, how could any cat lover resist a cute fat cat (chat), perched atop a giant egg (oeuf), on a wine called Chat-en-Oeuf? Say it quickly and...hmmmm. Sounds a lot like that famous French wine, Chateauneuf.

From the bottle:

Chat-en-Oeuf label"This luscious red is made from selected parcels of old vine Grenache and Syrah (aka Shiraz), two grape varieties usually found in Chat-en-Oeuf's more esteemed (and more expensive) cousins from the Rhône. A truly mouth-filling red packed with rich, juicy and ripe berry fruit flavours, a touch of soft tannin and a subtle twist of spice. Chat-en-Oeuf is a wine of real quality and character and an all rounder when it comes to food matching. Try it with a platter of meats or cheeses or simply lap it up all on its lonesome ... Purrfect!"

And purrrfect it was! We enjoyed a couple of glasses last night with plates of fettuccini in a mushroom and ripe olive sauce and it was very fine, indeed. (Sam thinks the cork is definitely play-worthy, too.) In every way, this one's "an amusing little wine." ;-)

Sam is a friend of and Sunday's , hosted this week at Catcall.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Persons Day

Nellie McClung
"Never retreat, never explain, never apologize — get the thing done and let them howl."
~ Nellie McClung

That quote, along with Nellie McClung's portrait, hangs on my bathroom wall as a daily reminder that if I think something needs to be changed, I'd better get busy and work on changing it.

Who was Nellie McClung? An author, educator, suffragist, and one of a group of courageous women remembered today as the "Famous Five". Thanks to their determination, Canadian women won the right to be recognized as "persons" under the law (October 18, 1929).

With the Harper government's ongoing cuts to women's programs this year, it seems more important than ever to remember how things once were and to thank those who work for change, then and now.

How will you remember Persons Day? Find out more.

"Whenever I don't know whether to fight or not, I fight."
~ Emily Murphy

Friday, October 13, 2006


Cats are nature's way of telling us
our furniture is too nice.
Cats are nature's way of telling us our furniture is too nice.

Today's challenge is "destruction"—a perfect fit for my usual Friday cat blog. This old chair in the bedroom has been 'Sam's chair' for napping and window-gazing since the day he came to stay. Despite his love for the comfy perch, however, he won't be convinced to stop shredding the upholstery, wreaking feline destruction at every opportunity.

Sam models his SoftPawsOur vet recommended SoftPaws* and Sam wears them (mostly) uncomplaining, so the rest of my furniture is relatively unscathed. Strangely enough, he seems able to destroy this poor old chair even while wearing his spiffy red claw covers.

"I am Cat. Watch me shred."

Sam is a friend of and Sunday's , hosted this week at House of the (Mostly) Black Cats.

*SoftPaws are a humane alternative to declawing.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

leafy colour by the lakeA vivid splash of red as fall colour begins at the lakeshore.

Family, friends, turkey, and glorious sunshine. I truly have much to be thankful for. Here are a few photos, taken yesterday as middle son J and I strolled along the lakeshore in Toronto. Enjoy! And whether you celebrate now or in November, Happy Thanksgiving and may you find peace, joy, and gratefulness. Please click the Hunger Site button now (and every day) to help feed a hungry person.
The Hunger Site - Please Click!

swans at Sam Smith Park

A flock of 5 pairs of swans make their home at Col. Sam Smith Park. They were all enjoying the sunshine yesterday morning.

sparkling water at the yacht club

Sparkling water at the yacht club.

lakeshore autumn

Autumn beauty by the lakeshore.

Sunday, October 08, 2006 bad

Sam-the-Cat: not guilty!Yesterday, Sam-the-Cat, also known as He Who Rules, was unjustly accused of camera theft and hidery. I looked everywhere, moving furniture, crawling around the floor, peering into only-a-cat-will-fit spots. Argh!

In the end, I found my camera was just where I'd left it over a week the bottom of a bag of cleaning supplies I'd lugged home from the store but hadn't gotten around to using. I guess my hands were full, so I dropped the camera into the bag for safekeeping. (And we all know what happens when I put things away for for "safekeeping".)

To soothe his wounded pride, Sam has been lovingly brushed and fed on the best bits from our Thanksgiving Turkey. That's him looking smug and oh, so satisfied. Oh, I've also promised that even though I've got my camera back, I won't try to make him pose like this. (Not this week, anyway.)

Friday, October 06, 2006


Sam has mixed feelings about tummy tickles.
I can't find my camera anywhere. Sam claims he hasn't seen it but I'm not so sure. Lately, he's been giving me the evil eye every time I point it at him. Take this recent picture, for instance. On first glance, you might think his smiling expression is one of catly bliss. But note the left-side squint and curling, twitchy lip. Could he be worried about where all this photography might lead?

Sam: What if warm-lap-woman grows bored with candid shots and expects me to pose like this?

Hmmmm. If I were a cat, where would I hide a digital camera?

Sam is a friend of Friday Ark and Sunday's Carnival of the Cats, hosted this week at Curiouser and Curiouser.

Late addition: The first Friday in October is Catmas! Sam says Merry Catmas to all...but he's still not telling where my camera is. Technorati Tags: catmas, BlogACatMas

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

seasonally affected

The days are short,
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.
~John Updike