Saturday, January 30, 2010

travel count down 2 more sleeps

Two more sleeps! Nowhere near ready! But, some major accomplishments achieved, not least of which is the completion of "tweaking" my novel. It is now all printed and in the mail to Formac Lorimer Books. (See James Lorimer link). Every post office clerk has a different idea of how a manuscript ought to be mailed. Today, I had to buy two express envelopes, one for the SASE and one to hold the ms, etc. So, may angels go with my Angels in the Flames! I've done all I can do with it for now.
The only other "major" accomplishments were getting my hair cut and returning my library books. I would like to say that the library books had been more help than they were. Actually, they weren't books, they were Arabic lessons on CDs, tapes & videos (with 2 manuals). I can't say I learned very much at all. I've doubled my Arabic vocabulary, though. Now I know two words. I knew "sala'am" before, and now I also know "shukran". Wow! That'll be quite a conversation. "Hello. Thank you." Wait! Tripled! I know how to say "no"--it's "la". But if you say it as they do in Saudi Arabia, it might be like "la, la, la", but in Egypt like "la' " with a glottal stop at the end. Very helpful. I'm not going to either Saudi Arabia or Egypt! I wonder how they say it in Israel/Palestine. I've been advised to avoid both names for that place and just refer to it as "The Holy Land". Apparently, everyone agrees on that designation. Nice that we all agree on something!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Today I spent the morning with the little folk in the kindergarten class, meeting them for the first time. I won't see them again until after Easter, I guess. But it was nice to be included again.


I've finally finished the "tweaking" of my novel. The rearranging of chapters, repagination, etc., are done. Now all I need to do is get it printed up and packaged, ready to pop it in the mail later this week.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

travel count down week 1 continued

Not mentioned in that list of activities I have this coming week, is the continuing "tweaking" of my novel, Angels in the Flames. The tweaking is the rearranging of the book's chapters, from ten chapters to twelve. Also, changing the font from whatever it was (can't remember the name) to Times New Roman 12. That means that there is some "tweaking" of pagination, too. And, of course, I can't resist the occasional fussing over words and details. I think I'm improving it. I hope so. The goal is to be ready to pop it in the mail to the next publisher on Saturday, January 30th.

travel count down week 1

This time next week I'll likely be panicking that my packing isn't done. It never is really finished until the last moment. This week will be super busy, too. Tomorrow isn't too bad, but Tuesday I'll be in the kindergarten class for the first time this year--and won't get back to those little folks until at least March, more likely April. Wednesday morning is the school visit with the UBC Farm class. The next time with them after that will be March 17th, the day after I get back from the trip. If I'm not totally jet lagged, I'll be there. Then this coming Thursday, I have a doctor's appointment at a time when I would normally be in church; Thursday evening is the Vancouver History lecture night. I'd like to go to that. Friday morning, too, I have another doctor's appointment, and Friday evening I'm tutoring ESL. Saturday morning I have to get my hair cut. Then there's Sunday followed by the day we leave.
We leave Monday, February 1st, we'll be at Heathrow for about 7 hours--February 2nd; and we'll arrive in Israel on February 3rd. A very long journey!

Monday, January 18, 2010

travel count down week 2, continued

As promised, here it is-- More later: I've been trying to do some "tweaking" to the Angels in the Flames novel, so as to make it ready to send off to the next publisher. The tweaking is a restructuring of the chapters, growing it from ten chapters to twelve. I don't know if that will be a big improvement, but I hope it will be publishable, finally. So I'm still rewriting. I'm not sure that it will ever end. I've heard of novelists who continue to rewrite even after their work is in print and on the shelves--yes, rewriting them as they sit on the shelves! I hope I won't be that compulsive. But as long as this novel keeps coming back, "good" rejections notwithstanding, I'll keep looking at it to see how it can be improved. I really want this one published.
I missed the deadlines for a couple of short stories that I wanted to write and submit to contests. But I have been working on practising Italian and Hebrew for my trip. However, I learned from a friend who had lived in Israel for a couple of years that Arabic might be even more important especially in Christian areas. I don't know a word (other than "salaam") of Arabic. So, I've ordered some Arabic textbooks from the public library. Hopefully, I can get a few useful words. I realize that with the history of British presence and the current interest of American Jews, most likely we can get along just fine using only English. However, I do know that people appreciate it when tourists make the effort to say a few words of the language of the country they're visiting. That's my goal. Just a few words. As a linguist and language teacher with 30 years experience, I know it takes at least 2 years to learn a language with any degree of fluency. (Language school with claims to the contrary are ridiculous. Don't buy a course with such a claim. It's too good to be true, so it's too good to be true.)
This week and next will be filled with packing and repacking, at the very least. I never pack just once. I also need to know what the latest rules are for the airlines. Thank heaven we're not going to the USA! Already, by avoiding the USA, we've saved a considerable amount of money on insurance!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

travel count down week 2

two weeks plus one day to departure time, 15 sleeps! More later! Getting busy again!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This time last year I posted about our family Epiphany Brunch. I won't repeat it all now; I'll just say that we did it all again last Sunday. We were going to have it on Saturday, as we usually do, but the out-of-town family members who couldn't come last year wouldn't have made it this year unless we moved the celebration to Sunday. So we did. This time, all five of our family groups had representatives for the first time in a few years. We had a lot of fun--did all the same things we did last year.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Epiphany was actually a couple of days ago. We went to the evening Mass and then to the potluck supper afterwards at St. James Church. The dates of Easter and other feasts were announced during the service, and and chalk was blessed. So, a day or two later we said the prayer at the front door as we wrote on the lintel: 20+G+M+B+10, for 2010, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar who were called upon to protect our home in the name of Christ. We hadn't done that before. A new experience.
We will celebrate Epiphany tomorrow with the family, with our annual family Epiphany Brunch. I've made the trifles, and now I have to wrap the bucket gifts and circle gift. We have the catalogues handy for the families to select gifts to purchase from World Vision .

Monday, January 4, 2010

travel count down week 4

Twenty-nine sleeps. Thinking about what to pack, especially with the airline regulation changes almost daily. The time we'll be en route from Vancouver to Israel is almost alarming. We leave on February 1st and arrive on February 3rd! Some of that lost time is due to time zones, and some of it is sitting waiting in Heathrow (I think). I sure hope I'll sleep on the plane. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.
Meanwhile, I'm working on getting my Angels novel ready for the next submission. I want to get it out before we leave.