Thursday, July 27, 2006

Putting A Face To My Life (+ a joke and a contest!)

Yesterday, I looked at the list of things I had to do and said, “Screw it.” It took longer to sort the dogs and cats than I’d thought, but finally I was in the Rodeo, on my way to Kananaskis.

K Country is one of the most beautiful places in Canada.

There’s great roadside dining.

Plenty to see.

Winter travel is environmentally friendly (nephew Athaniel demonstrates).

And every summer my sister’s family spends a good chunk of time camping out there. We always say we’re going to, and never get around to it. Between Kevin’s day job and then the fire department, plus the training, not to mention the Spinetingler stuff, he’s a bit busy.

Then we have me, miss obsessive workaholic.

The problem is, I can never shut my brain off. When I’m working on a book, I’ll keep notepaper beside the bed so that if I wake up in the middle of the night, I can jot down ideas. Yes, I’m that bad. Of course, that’s why I do an average first draft in 6 weeks – I can’t stop working.

That’s why I don’t think I’d make a good parent. I’m a true tunnel-vision person, when it comes to the work. I have a bit of a problem with balance.

Kevin and I used to go hiking all the time. Of course, that was pre back injury days for me. And before his schedule got insane. (Yup, that's a few years back, me in K Country)

I used to take the real camera out all the time and snap photos.

I just realized I have a box of films that have expired.

Over the past few years, as Kevin has become busier and busier, I’ve been finding ways to stay equally occupied, and the result is that we’ve both lost a bit of ourselves along the way.

My sister is a good parent. She makes costumes for the kids. Arriel has won so many prizes with Harry Potter costumes, she should make a scrapbook. This year, Eragon costumes.

They are all involved in the performing group that Arriel has really thrived in.

How many 11-year-olds do you know who can do solos (above) in front of a sold-out crowd at the Jubilee Auditorium (the local concert venue second only to the Saddledome) and then tour, and still pull out an A average? (Arriel in silver wig, as Cher)

Athaniel’s taking after his Dad as not only a capable performer, but more of a technician – someone who likes to mix with sound boards and play the piano.

We already know Dashiell has the music bug too. He’s the only one-year-old I’ve seen who sits spellbound watching musicals.

Funny, music has always been an important part of the family. We used to fall asleep with George Jones and Gordon Lightfoot. I was the rebel who started listening to rock – which was forbidden in our house. John Cougar Mellencamp was one of the first artists I started listening to that wasn’t - heaven forbid - doing country. Authority Song. Still love that song.

Maybe that’s why there’s always a song to sum up how I feel, and today it’s Carolyn Dawn Johnson’s Simple Life

I have wondered this world far and wide
I've been all around to the other side
But there's nothin' like comin' home
I wanna sit on my front porch and drink my lemonade
Cut my grass after church every Sunday
And go out on Saturday night
Live the simple life
Wake up in the morning to these fields of gold
And take a long walk down a gravel road

Spend my days in the sweet sunshine
Rock in my swing and watch my garden grow
Know that I'll always have someone to hold
Oh I wanna live the simple life

I wanna take a blanket down to the creek
And let the water sing me to sleep
Let go of time
Live the simple life
Lately I've seen too many city lights
I wanna go somewhere where I can see the stars at night

I live somewhere that I can see the stars at night. But it isn’t often that I sit out under the dark sky and look up.

Not that I’m not pleased with how things have gone over the past few years. Oh, there’s a hell of a lot of room for improvement. There’s still a long way to go. But getting some validation for my work is nice.

And if someone had told me a year ago all that would change before I returned to Harrogate, I would have mocked them shamelessly.

I’m working now on dedications and acknowledgements for the book (oh, there is book news, but it’ll likely come out in an interview with me that’s happening some time in the next week or so) and the dedication is easy.

It’s to the one person who believed.

And it sure as hell wasn’t me.

James has a great post up about Harrogate. And I'll post tomorrow, btw.

Yesterday I had a real first, though.
I got my copies of Crimespree #13

I’m sure the online version will be up soon, which has apparently got another article by me in it for just online reading. But issue 13 has my interview with John Rickards in it.

Plus a short story of mine.

Oh, and an article by Daniel Hatadi that's just awesome. You have to go after him to get him to autograph it yourself though. Unless you spring for my ticket to Australia.

So, I’m going to have a little contest to win a signed copy of this issue of Crimespree – and if you don’t subscribe, no doubt reading an issue will persuade you that you should!

All you have to do is email me at and answer this question:

What is the name of the short story I have in Crimespree Magazine this issue?

Oh, and the answer is online. You just need to do a wee bit of sleuthing. It isn’t hard, actually. Just think where you might find information about what I’m up to and you’ll be almost there.

I’ll take entries until August 3 and then draw a winner.

No exemptions, no matter where you live, what you do for a living, or even if you have a beard. Though why you’d want one is up for debate.

Thank you Uncle Charlie. This was just what I needed this morning. Well, that and The Nut Bra video, but I can’t figure out how to post that. So if anyone wants to see it, email me and I’ll forward it to you.

See why I cringe when someone refers to me as a lady? I’m so not.


Many of us unfortunately were born after our own Grandpas had passed on and never had the opportunity to enjoy moments like this. I hope this will again confirm that the most important information in your life won't come from a teacher, the library or the Internet. It comes from a mentor and always on a very personal level.

My long-passed grandfather's birthday is coming up and for me it is a time to reminisce. We used to take long walks and drives together. He would make special trips to pick me up so I could spend weekends with him.

I was young when he died. If he were living today and sharing his pearls of wisdom,I'd be a better man. The one I remember best came from him when I was only 12.

We were sitting in a park, watching children with their mothers enjoying a beautiful spring day. He told me that one day, I'd find a woman and start my own family. Then came the jewel in the crown of grandfatherly advice when he said, "And be sure you marry a woman with small hands."

"Why should I do that, Grandpa?" I asked.

"It makes your pecker look bigger."

It kinda brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it?


JT Ellison said...

Beautiful pics -- love the wedding photo! Funny how our earlier pleasures get consumed by the written word. We should all have a month that we can turns the brains off and go back to the simple times...

Sandra Ruttan said...

I'm with you on that JT.

It's something I really need to do more.

Flood said...

The kids has really unique and interesting names. I like that.

JamesO said...

Somehow I just can't imagine either of my grandfathers (both long gone) ever giving me that advice.

And in sheep farming, having small hands means something else entirely...

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Best advice my dad ever gave me was, "Duck". The worst was, of course, "Here, light this".

Congrats on the short story in Crimespree. I haven't gotten my issue, yet. But I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Flood, my sister is keen on unique names - obviously!

James, come on! Do tell!

Stephen, your grandfathers were sadly lacking in the advice department then!

And thanks. Send me an edit, will you? I'm always afraid to read stuff for fear I'll take out a red pen and say, "I could have done that better."


Julia Buckley said...

Sandra, ironically we have both blogged about parenting today. If you read mine, maybe you'll rethink your stance on mothering. Or not. :)

And boy, can you pack a lot of info into one blog! I can learn from you.

anne frasier said...

sandra, i love the photos!

i'm a workaholic too, and i very rarely do anything i enjoy anymore. what's the point of any of this if i never have fun! wahhh! i must work on that. when my daughter was little she would sob and say, "I've gotta have my fun! I've gotta have my fun!!!" she may have had a point.

my grandfather used to take us "fishing" and leave us in the car outside the bar. "Here's another bottle of pop. Don't tell your grandmother. I'll be back in a minute."

Sandra Ruttan said...

Julia, I'm planning to read that post!

Anne, yes, your daughter may have had a point! More whining and more fun. More pop, and beer for grandpa. Too funny.

Trace said...

I think most writers are like that, Sandra. I stopped writing for a while because I thought that was why my marriage broke up. But it wasn't. He was just a selfish pecker-head! LOL!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Oh, and I hadn't snorted coke through my nose once so far today.

Until I read that.

(But you're right and you're better off rid of the peckerheadboy!)

Bill Cameron said...

What have you snorted coke through then. (Or do you mean Coke®?) Heh.

The pics are great. I think your wedding hair stylist and my wife's wedding hair stylist were the same!

Sandra Ruttan said...

I know I'm Canadian, but can I plead the 5th?

Daniel Hatadi said...

Nice ... collection of photos. Gives us all a little taste of your life.

And thanks for the compliment.

And damn you, I absolutely cannot think of a smart-arse comment to put here.

Bill Cameron said...

At the very least you can drink a fifth. I will check with my nearest Constitutional lawyer on the other matter.

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

Your photos make me want to move over there. And your grandpa sounds like a great guy.

jamie ford said...

Love the Eragon costumes!

Elizabeth said...

"Next year, that could be you. All it takes is believing in yourself, hard work, and a bit of luck. You do the work, and let luck take care of itself, and know I’m always here to cheer you on.

It's very exciting to hear of your progress, and thanks for both the encouragement and great stories!

Sandra Ruttan said...

You're welcome Daniel - much deserved.

Bill, ha! No comment on the drinking.

Dana, you should move here! Just so I can pester you in person!

Jamie, thanks - the kids love stuff like that.

Elizabeth, thanks for all the encouragement I get from you!