Now Available! Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy: Blood and Fire

Coming February 12!

Coming February 12!

What chance does one witch have against five vampires? Alone, not much. But Rayvin’s allies are gathering . . .
The battle between good and evil supernatural forces heats up in the long, cold November nights of the former mining town. But how will Rayvin’s motley crew of spellcasters and shapeshifters cope when they discover the threat they face is even greater than they imagined?

Buy Links:
Publisher: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/torilridgewood/bloodandfire.html

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/404643

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Fire-Talbot-Trilogy-Ridgewood-ebook/dp/B00IDNJ7U0/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1392171401&sr=1-3&keywords=Blood+and+Fire

Paperback: http://www.lulu.com/shop/tori-l-ridgewood/blood-and-fire/paperback/product-21444423.html

Interview on The Romance Radio Network!

Please enjoy my latest online talk, with Desmond Haas, and leave a comment or a question, if you like.

I recorded this on one of our last beautiful sunny days in October of 2013, sitting in my backyard with the grass under my feet and the leaves skittering on warm breezes around me.

It was a real pleasure to chat with Desmond for a little while, and I truly enjoyed the experience. What a nice memory to have in the middle of the dark and cold Northern Ontario winter!

Romance Radio Network Interview

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Mist and Midnight now available from Melange Books!

Mist and Midnight now available from Melange Books!

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Stalked by a cruel and relentless vampire, Charlotte is on the run. Fleeing the city, the powers of magick her only protection, she couldn’t afford to fall for the hot modern prospector Pike Mahonen. Can she avoid temptation in a small town, to keep them both safe?

Find out how the vampire was trapped underground in this prequel to The Talbot Trilogy!

Buy Links:
(PDF) http://www.melange-books.com/authors/torilridgewood/mistandmidnight.html
(Kindle) http://www.amazon.com/Mist-Midnight-The-Talbot-Trillogy-ebook/dp/B00HQA3MKC/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1389544136&sr=8-5&keywords=mist+and+midnight

Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy

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Buy Links:
(PDF or Print) http://www.melange-books.com/authors/torilridgewood/windandshadow.html
(Kindle) http://www.amazon.com/Wind-Shadow-Talbot-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00DYCH64Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374184496&sr=8-1&keywords=wind+and+shadow+tori+ridgewood
(B&N) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-and-shadow-tori-l-ridgewood/1116138235?ean=9781612356396
(Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/340100
(Kobo) http://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/books/wind-and-shadow-talbot-series-1/JPwUsVxsCkqvqn_pDL1MYw?MixID=JPwUsVxsCkqvqn_pDL1MYw&PageNumber=1

September Walking . . . with Skittles! Or, Forest Creatures Unbound

Maybe it's not a hat at all -- maybe it's a door, cleverly camouflaged by the screen of brush behind it? An illusion to discourage humans from knocking, but those in the know might turn the little doorknob and venture within the opening that appears in the air around it . . .

Sometimes, you just have to get out of the house. Too often, I know I ought to get out and go for a walk, and end up ignoring that thought — and regretting it later. After all, the dishes aren’t going to do themselves! Nor is the laundry. But walking is good for inspiration, as well as health. Plus, at this time of year, there are fewer mosquitoes and blackflies to make the stroll less pleasant (although leave it to me to attract the last of the sluggish and most stubborn skeeters in the woods . . .) And as much as I’d like to think I’ll get all the chores done that I want to get done, that’s not likely, either. Ever. So today, I got out of the house with my pooch and enjoyed an hour’s jaunt along one of the ski trails behind our community centre.

I hope you enjoy my pics, all taken with my iPhone (with the chance of drizzle, I didn’t want to take my camera) — scroll over each or click to see the captions. :D

Meeting People and Geeking Out: My Latest Adventures in Fandom

Since last we met, dear readers, the summer has passed and I have tried to keep myself productive, with varying levels of success. I’ve made some progress on my next novel, the third and final in The Talbot Trilogy, and my garden has been happily growing, feeding bees, butterflies, earwigs, slugs, and birds. I don’t mind that I’m helping the first two, but the latter three I’d prefer to be rid of, particularly as they like to snack on my lovely Heirloom tomatoes.

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The highlight of the last few weeks — and a point of particular stress — was taking my family to FanExpo in Toronto. Our great end-of-summer hurrah, as it were. Weeks of preparation, developing an itinerary and choosing accommodations, creating costumes and explaining the passage of time to my daughter. And with that much anticipation, it’s no wonder that the time we spent at the event flew by, though enjoyably so.

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I will admit, there are some aspects of FanExpo that I had hoped to be more satisfying. I thought a lot about the power of anticipation on the way home — how the expectation of something grand and exciting can outweigh the experience of the thing itself. Like the chase feeling more fun than the catch, or the trailer more tantalizing than the film. I’d set up photo opportunities for myself and my family with some of our favourite actors, and we looked forward to those intensely, but when the pivotal moments arrived, I was too shy to make the most of them. I saw others having fun with posing, and props, but I was too keyed up with the glamour and shock of actually being there to do what I’d dreamed of doing: asking for a quick hug, or standing between a pair of actors rather than slipping to the side. An expensive learning experience, to be sure. Photo ops are a long wait, and a quick doing. I’d thought that they would be better and more personal than an autograph, but after sharing some nice, quick conversations with two other actors (and waiting only 20 minutes for each), I think my opinion is reversing itself.

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Freddy! He also had a great guest role on “Chuck”…

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The 11th Doctor himself! And a few seats away, Rory, the Last Centurion…

Michael Rooker was a delight to talk to, a real highlight...

Michael Rooker was a delight to talk to, a real highlight…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Relax, dear,” Bruce Campbell says to me. “It’s not a mugshot.” “I can’t,” I told him, “You’re too awesome!”

 

 

 

Still, there is something to be said for spending two days in the company of thousands of like-minded individuals. I saw people of all ages and faiths, ethnicities and educational levels, mingling happily in a sea of science fiction and fantasy merchandise, celebrities, icons, and workshops. Cosplayers are among the kindest people you will ever meet. They’re much like Shriners, in fact, in my experience: very friendly, open to conversation, willing to help or point you in the direction of help, highly creative and generous of their time. 

I think that the attendees and volunteers of FanExpo are perhaps the best part of the event.

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It’s a place for waiting, you see. You wait in line to meet someone who’s been part of your favourite fiction, for a fleeting chance to tell them how much you appreciate their work and if you can afford it, take away their signature as a treasured souvenir. You wait in line to obtain a precious bottle of water or a slice of pizza for your hungry children, acutely aware that you’re grateful that it’s there and you live in a country where a long line is a minor inconvenience. You wait to find a place to squeeze through the crushing crowd between tables displaying information about philanthropic fan organizations raising money for Sick Kids, and pick up advice on costume repair or spy a coveted tea pot while you’re there. You wait to meet your significant other, who is trying to get to you from the other side of the building. And yet the adventure keeps happening around you, while you’re waiting.

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You’re seeing superheroes and creatures of mythology rubbing elbows with fantastical recreations of anime characters and video game villains. You’re glimpsing famous faces at the end of one of those long lines, smiling and shaking hands with the fans who support them, and delighting in the proximity. You’re making way for a grand Gandalf with his perfectly Hobbity wife, steadily moving forward with the aid of a walker, while an infant barely a month old is wearing the onesie of a comic book heroine, swinging in her father’s arms. It’s hot, and it’s loud, while a gathering of gaming fans cheers on competitors in a virtual race, and the people stream in breaks and eddies toward the doorways that funnel them to the next part of the convention centre. It’s beautiful, dizzying, and maddening, all at once.

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You make friends at FanExpo. I had lovely conversations while waiting in line, with a nice young couple who’d just finished school. The lady (whose name I was too shy to ask) offered to pilfer a Sprite from an unwatched case on behalf of my thirsty self, and I promised her we would bond in jail. (Don’t worry, we didn’t steal the pop.) And then I chatted with a terrific gentleman who was the only person I’d seen with the wisdom to bring a folding stool for the waiting. (Hello, dear Man-with-the-Stool, if you held onto my card and have gotten to read this!) 

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Adding to this the experience of strolling downtown in a metropolis in full creature or hero gear, passing sports fans on their way to the Blue Jays game and boarding the subway with evening commuters, and you have a summertime adventure that simply cannot be equalled or diminished, even if the photos weren’t quite what were originally envisioned and the legs and feet take days to recover from hours of walking and standing on concrete floors. After all, adventures aren’t meant to be perfect. They’re occasions in which to learn about ourselves, to take risks and push boundaries, and later to share with others by story and photograph.

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Travelling by subway…

 

We first went to FanExpo last year, and we enjoyed it so much then that we determined to make it a family tradition. Already, my husband is planning how to improve his costume for next year, and my son is considering his cosplay options. I’ve learned the value of carrying a large, colourful or easily recognizable staff — it might seem cumbersome, but it’s incredibly useful for identifying someone across a crowded convention hall. I’ve also learned the value of the revealing, light-cloth costume in an environment heated and humidified by thousands of bodies. So the next trip should be even better than this one.

 

 

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My daughter immediately embraced the first Elsa cosplayer she saw, and refused to let go for a good five minutes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But though I feel a layer of disappointment here and there (which may also be a mark of my own anxieties making themselves known — always worried that I haven’t done things exactly right), I know that my family had an excellent experience, and that makes it all so very worthwhile. 

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Theatre Review: Mass Appeal, by Bill C. Davis, performed at the LaSalle Theatre by Michael Rawley and Shane Patrick McClurg

“Father Farley has been a priest for awhile and he certainly knows the preaching ropes. But when young Seminarian Mark Dolson is assigned to him by the rector, Farley is challenged by this bright eyed student to remember that it’s more important to have the congregation as your family in your heart, not the palm of your hand.”

Presented in the lobby of the historic LaSalle Theatre here in Kirkland Lake, Mass Appeal is superbly performed by the able talents of the estimable Michael Rawley and Shane Patrick McClurg. I’ve seen the work of these fine gentlemen in two previous performances — together in their first two-person show A Christmas Carol this past winter, and Shane as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as directed by Rawley. And as before, I was absolutely drawn in by their characters. In A Christmas Carol, McClurg tested his chops by quickly changing characters in Scrooge’s story, while Rawley played the crotchety old miser. In Mass Appeal, though, Shane plays the young, idealistic and enthusiastic Seminarian, and Rawley presents us with performances-within-the-performance when his Father Farley challenges Mark Dolson to think outside his comfort zone in role-plays. 

One of the beauties of performing in the LaSalle’s lobby is the flexibility of the space: the glass doors, curtained openings, and mirrors provide a setting both avant-garde and intimate. For this production, the space is decorated to resemble the environment of a Catholic church, complete with stained glass windows painted over the glass doors. The theatre takes place on the slim stage, within the audience, and behind us, wrapping us in the creative energy of the moment. It can be confusing at times, being addressed by a gowned priest at a pulpit in a small room thus decorated, but Rawley keeps the pacing quick and measured, reassuring us that we are observers participating with our eyes and ears alone. One may feel tempted to answer his questions in the opening dialogue -sermon, and I’m certain that if an audience member so engaged Father Farley, the response would be improvised and appropriate. But after the first scene, there is little doubt that as audience, we are being given the privilege to glimpse behind the altar and into the inner workings of the organization of a small-town Catholic church. 

And this is where the performance sharpens. In the first scene, Dolson challenges his soon-to-be-mentor by answering a question that was perhaps meant to titillate his parishioners, or at the very least, be rhetorical. After this introduction, we are brought into Father Farley’s office, and his decision to both counsel and confront Dolson with the realities of the ministry. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, he goes on to reveal; much of the priesthood is politics, knowing what to say and when, and an ample helping of psychology. This is not a reality that Dolson wants to accept, however, and both men are rapidly challenged by their opposing ideals, perceptions, and moralities. 

This play invites its audience to enjoy it on many levels. It’s a character study, an examination of what it means to someone to represent his deity within his faith, and what happens when his integrity is put under stress. The wit is quick and the laughs are many, disarming us so that the next revelation hits with even more significance. There is pain, too, which may not please an audience  member who has experienced personal tragedy of the kind mentioned in the dialogue, but that is what theatre is for: it’s a mirror for our lives, suggesting how each of us lives and responds to the human condition of love and loss. 

There are just four more performances of this show to be seen: Wednesday, August 6; Thursday, August 7; Friday, August 8; and Saturday, August 9, opening at 8 pm each night and running approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes (no intermission). The cost of each performance is $15 per person ($10 per student), with tickets available at Stage Left (the new theatre store next to the LaSalle), and all proceeds go toward Save the LaSalle. I highly recommend Mass Appeal for your summer entertainment this week. It’s worth the drive to Kirkland Lake in Northeastern Ontario!

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My Mortal Enemy

The ritual begins at bedtime, in the early summer. 

As soon as the sun approaches the western horizon, the unscreened windows are shut tight, and suspected cracks, stuffed with cloth, are inspected for the tiniest of openings.

Food is served, but we eat while alert, bodies tensed and eyes shifting toward shadowed corners. Small flickers of movement are suspect. Wisps of breeze stirring the light hairs on the arms and backs of necks induce rapid twisting of the torso and swiping at the air.

Nerves are already tingling, raised swellings and pin-sized gouges itching incessantly at the thought of another imminent attack.

Is the whine in my ear imaginary? Or is the tell-tale song of the enemy already inflicting itself upon my senses?

The remains of previous battles still dot our walls in various places — corners too high for the mop to reach, out-of-the-way places where our eyes rarely rove — carcasses forever glued to the drywall with their own innards, petrified trophies of the victory of human over insect.

They dance on the air currents, taunting. Swatters are useless against their fairy-like grace. Our vision struggles to focus on tiny bodies silhouetted against the light, depth perception flawed by poor illumination, or tension, or frustration. 

If I move fast enough, I can catch my tormentor in my hand. I can snatch it from its uneven flight, burying it in my clenched flesh, and hope that with enough grinding friction, it will be torn or squashed enough to end its existence. But the sneaky bastard tends to be flexible and soft, nestling into the folds of my curving fingers, ready to wisp free as soon as I extend my fingers again. My reflexes are rarely quick enough to catch the thing on its escape, and I am forced to start over, hunting even as I am hunted. 

How many will have entered the house tonight? Every time I think we have killed all of the interlopers, I am called back to my child’s bedroom to seek and destroy the next. Every time I start to relax, my hackles rise before I’m quite aware of the presence of the mosquito in my space. 

I welcome spiders in my home. I invite moths to my garden, and bats are my comfort. I am grateful that blackflies don’t bite indoors, and that deer flies and horseflies are rare for those of us who live in town. But mosquitoes have always been the bane of my summer. I’m not one of the lucky ones to whom mosquitoes are not attracted, nor am I one of those who can take a bite without much reaction. I itch, and I swell. My children, too. It seems that my allergy has abated somewhat since I was small, because the swelling is much less than I recall, but the relentless irritation of the skin continues for days after the original bite. Calamine, Polysporin, Benadryl — nothing helps, or for very long. It is something I’ve learned to live with. 

I am grateful I don’t have to worry about my mosquitoes carrying dangerous fevers or malarial infections. I am hopeful that West Nile will never show up in this part of the world. I am thankful that our mosquito season is relatively short. But the frustration and tension remain, night after night. 

Here’s hoping for a pleasant sleep…

When hubby and I first moved to northeastern Ontario thirteen years ago, baby boy in tow, I noticed a familiar face one day when I was shopping at a local big-box store. It was a woman who’d once been both my friend and the person I least wanted to see at school. I’ll call her Cee. In grade five, when I was the new kid at school, I recall Cee sitting on my back in the cloakroom when I had bent over to tie my laces, and inviting her friends to laugh at me with her. I remember when she mocked my innocence when we had seen an opened condom in a frozen puddle, and I didn’t know what it was. Before we were friends, Cee asked me every day “How’s it hanging?”, to my bewilderment, and when I would answer politely as I had been raised to do — “Fine, thanks” (with a slight questioning tone because I hadn’t a clue what she was talking about) — she and her friends would dissolve in hysterics. Of course, I wasn’t a stranger to being picked on. I’d been a target for others for most of my childhood, and would remain so until the end of high school. I knew better than to engage, focusing on my reading and my writing and my small circle of good friends. I shrugged my shoulders, ignored her as best I could (as I’d always done), and cried once in a while, but I could never understand why Cee treated me that way. 

Then, in grade six, we suddenly became friends for a time, in that strange and inexplicable way of adolescent girls. We had sleepovers, and I made her a stuffed unicorn with rainbow-hued yarn hair. We confided secrets. We had fun. I thought she was cool, and I was glad that we could spend time together that was enjoyable instead of making me feel bad. 

But just as suddenly, in grade seven it was back to the routine in which I was her target, and knowing some of my secrets made it that much easier for her to zing me. It could be that she’d had a fight with her bestie and I’d simply filled the gap until they were able to be friends again. Or, she might simply have grown tired of my quirks. I liked playing intramural volleyball, but I remember once faking a stomach ache so I could sit with Cee in the stands instead, as per her request. And feeling badly for that, wishing I was down on the floor serving and volleying away. I liked volunteering in the library at recesses, stamping books and shelving returns, which she found boring. For whatever the reason, our friendship dissolved and she went back to treating me in a way that just felt nasty; I turned my concentration once again to the things that made me happy, and the summer after that grade, my family moved away. I stayed in contact with my two best friends from that town, and I tried to move on. 

But running into Cee at the big-box store, it all came back, of course. 

She was behind a cash register, and she didn’t recognize me. Nor did she know me the next time I shopped there, or the next. I’m always conscious when I go into that store that she might be there, but our encounters have been purely by coincidence. I pick the shortest line, like any shopper at that particular retailer, but of course, while I’m waiting, I scan to see if she’s there. To see if If we’ll finally make eye contact, a real connection to show that Cee remembers me. I’ve kept waiting for some glimmer of acknowledgement, some flicker in her eyes or a smile, but maybe too much time has gone by. What do you do when you see someone from your past who fills you with such mixed feelings? Especially someone from childhood? But those are the formative years — those memories are as sharp and powerful as any made as an adult . . . 

Yesterday, I finally took my courage in my hands when I saw her again. 

I’d been shopping with my children, picking up sunscreen and hats, and then after we’d left the store, I’d gotten a text from the hubby asking me to pick up just one more thing. So leaving the thirteen-year-old in charge while they munched on burgers in the car, I ran back into the store to buy a specific measuring tape. (NOTE: It’s for a friend. Yeah, okay. There’s another blog post on him and his damned measuring tapes.) The previous cashier I’d gone to had closed up for her shift, so I went to the fast lane with my single purchase, and there she was. 

“Did you grow up around here?” I asked. 

She looked wary. “Yes,” she answered cautiously.

I smiled and nodded. “I went to school with you,” I told her. 

She looked confused. 

I gave her my first name — the nickname I’d gone by back then. Cee shook her head, clearly drawing a blank. I shrugged and waved my hand as I picked up my purchase. “It’s been a long time, I moved away in grade six,” I told her. And I immediately wanted to kick myself because it had been in grade seven, but that small detail probably didn’t make any difference. Cee doesn’t remember me. 

On the drive home, I thought about how the rest of this story might go if this were a movie or a novel. Perhaps Cee would turn over that ginormous brunette with glasses in her mind, the woman who said she’d been to school with her, for the rest of her shift. And perhaps when she went home, she’d dig out some old school photos and scan the faces of the kids from twenty years past, checking the names, before sitting back with a shock of recognition. But in all probability, she’ll just chalk me up to some nut job and forget all about that moment of her day. Or if it comes back to her at all, she’ll laugh about it with her family or her friends. It doesn’t matter, in the grand scheme of things.

Except, in a small way, it matters to me. I don’t remember everyone I went to school with, and unless you have a photographic memory, I doubt that you do, too. It’s even more of a challenge for me to remember former classmates because I changed schools every few years until I was in grade nine. The ones I do remember are in my brain because of the impressions they made on me, good or ill. These relationships helped to shape my future friendships and collegial communication. I found out that I preferred ignoring people who treated me badly more than fighting for myself, which hasn’t always been the best alternative. I know better now that sometimes, standing up for yourself is more than just keeping to yourself and trying to avoid notice. Being a doormat is not the greatest defence. In grades five and seven, though, I didn’t know my own power. 

Thinking about all of these things, I started to realize that I don’t even know what I want out of a successful encounter with Cee. Do I want her to apologize for how mean she was to me? I’m actually not sure. I think, if she does eventually remember it, an acknowledgement might be nice. I don’t know how realistic that is, though. And I’m not sure what good it would do for either of us. The little girl who still exists in my heart wants it, but the grown woman just wants to make a connection with someone who was also once a friend, and catch up a little on our lives. But what does an apology mean if it doesn’t come from the heart? Actions speak louder than words; I’d take a glimmer of recognition, and then a hug with some reminiscing.

And if the shoe was on the other foot, would I want someone bringing to my attention something I’d done in his/her childhood to make him/her uncomfortable? Given my personality type, I’d be apologetic immediately, and I’d examine my actions then with a fine-toothed comb, seeking to heal whatever injuries I might have caused. And it would bother me for a while, the way that most of my mistakes bother me (though since having therapy for my anxiety, I’ve gotten much better with letting things go). 

I thought about my encounter with Cee for much of our hour-and-a-half drive home, and then I was distracted by lawn mowing and laundry and the kids and all those mundane details of the weekend. I remembered to tell my hubby about it today, after I found some stories I’d written in grade five. Now I wonder if I’ll be embarrassed the next time I go into that store. What if she’s at the register, and this time she does remember me? Do I revert to old habits and go out of my way to avoid her? Or carry on, staying focused on the here and now, and accepting what will be?

I won’t know until I’m in that building again. I’d say it’s a pretty poor chance that she’ll recognize me anyway. It’s just me with those images and dialogue from 1987, 1988, and 1989 in my head. It would be cool if she still had that felt unicorn I’d made her, because I did a good job on it and I’d love to see it, but that’s even more improbable. 

In the meantime, my own children are both older and younger than I was at that time, with their own friendships and dramas and conflicts. I try to keep the memories of my own youthful encounters alive so I can relate to them, but I’m finding lately that it’s getting harder to remember what it was like to be eight and thirteen. Maybe it’s not a bad thing to be putting more years between those painful moments of adolescence and the challenges of the present day. I think what I really want from Cee is a shared acknowledgement of that fact. That an echo of the original feeling remains, but we can see it differently now and talk about how it’s affected our parenting (if she has kids). Maybe it’s easier to let go of the past if someone else has the scissors to cut the string.

Adventures in Spousing

Hubby and I went to CanTire to pick up garden/landscape supplies. I get my pea gravel, my river stones, my mulch, and my potting soil, pay, load them into the car, and head back into the store to find him. Locate hubby gazing longingly at power tools. Right before I get him away from the drills and reciprocating saws, he spies a neat new measuring tape. I remind him, as he fondles the measuring tape with its futuristic black contoured case and laser sight, that he already HAS three measuring tapes at home. He looks at me and at a random gentleman standing a few feet away, scoffs at my suggestion that he doesn’t need another one, and declares that a man needs a measuring tape for every room. The other man grins and agrees, and then states that his wife would then take it anyway. I remark that I keep a measuring tape in my purse already. We head toward the exit, when he spies a friend of his and tells him that I wouldn’t let him buy another measuring tape. THE GUY (without having heard hubby’s spiel from five minutes earlier) SAYS THE SAME GOLDARNED THING ABOUT GUYS NEEDING A MEASURING TAPE FOR EVERY ROOM.

So, my question to you, Interweb, is this: how many people out there (guy, girl, trans, whatever, I don’t care) have a measuring tape in every room? And . . . do you think, if I went to look right now, I would FIND a measuring tape in every . . . *face-palm*

Epic (Friendly) Sibling Rivalry: Jump Rope for Heart Fundraising!

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Shameless Plug: Both of my children are definitively school-aged, at 13 and 8 years old, and they’re involved with various activities. They’ve both elected, on their own and without any urging from me, to help raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation through the Jump Rope for Heart endeavour.

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Want to help out by donating online?

To help the 8 year old best her brother, click BRIDGET!

To assist the 13 year old in maintaining the order of the world, click JACK!

I’ll try to post pictures of the kids doing their Jump Rope activities as we go. Thanks so much for checking this out — supportive comments are welcome below! 

*For more information on the Heart and Stroke Foundation‘s annual school fundraising drive, please go here: http://jumpropeforheart.ca/learn-why-we-fundraise.php