View From The Glen

Saturday, March 31, 2012


We've figured it out, Erik and me. Figured out what makes a hero a hero.

It's interesting to me that he and I both like the same heroes. James Bond. Zorro. Han Solo.

Men who are not wholly "nice guys" but are definitely the stuff heroes are made of. Often elusive and witty, sometimes earnest and ironic, always charming in an off-the-cuff manner.

And you know how you can tell..? It's the smirk.

We've called it the Han Solo Smirk for years - Erik has made an art of perfecting it himself. But I've noticed in movies it is not limited to Han or Indy or Jack Ryan (though Harrison Ford does an excellent job of it). One side of the mouth turns up in a manner that suggests "Hey, you need to take me seriously," or "You've gotta be kidding me," or "You have no idea what is about to happen do you?"  It shows amusement or cynicism or arrogance or all three at once, and is a mainstay of movie heroes everywhere.

Tonight we saw Anthony Hopkins as the old Zorro and Antonio Bandandas as the new Zorro both do a version of the smirk. Last week it was Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale. The week before, Jeremy Irons as Aramis in The Man In The Iron Mask.

The smirk is how you know this is a good guy at heart. A guy with faults, sure, but deep down, one you want on your side.

The Han Solo Smirk. Heck. Even Lego Han figures have it!

Friday, March 30, 2012


Just start.

Good advice.

I am not usually a procrastinator (although when I speak to students about essays that they start the night before they are due and start to feel so frustrated about their work ethic, I have to take a step back and remember the many, many essays I wrote in university late at night to get them in on time and remind myself that perhaps - just perhaps - I shouldn't be too critical. Having said that, I would have never EVER gone to one of my profs to admit this and beg for extra time, so at least I took some ownership for my lack of seriousness and responsibility).

I juggle editing, teaching, home and kids, book club and housework, blogging and research pretty well most of the time.

But I do get overwhelmed when I get behind and things start to pile up. It happens with housework - which I absolutely detest and abhor. (I really can't emphasize that strongly enough and as soon as Andrew goes back to full time hours I am so getting someone in to clean the house again. A professional. Someone who is actually good at it. Unlike me. I'd rather read... Garden... Hike with the kids... Cook... Get my fingernails pulled out one by one...) And when it happens and I'm looking at a pile of laundry to fold, muddy footprints from the dog, a counter full of school papers and the dishes that someone took out of the dishwasher but never actually put away, along with all the cleaning, sweeping, washing, vacuuming, window shining....well, I freeze. It usually takes Andrew to calmly remind me that the key is to just start. Do one thing, and the rest will follow.

So in a week like this one has been, where there has been too much to do and not enough time (making me wish I could stop time for 12 hours a week and everyone but me can fall asleep a la Sleeping Beauty and not be constantly undoing the things I am doing so that I have an outside chance of catching up again), that advice rings particularly true.

I made a list of things I need to accomplish. Because it helps. Because I am a list maker. Because I like to cross things off. I won't lie...the length of the list kinda scared me. But it's a start.

  • Create a graphic biography for a presentation (an experiment, and not required, but if I don't do it while I am thinking about it, I will forget how and why)
  • Organize my one note documents so that I can actually find all the stuff I have filed (which right now is not always in the most logical place)
  • Finish final edits on two manuscripts
  • Finish developmental edits on a new manuscript
  • Read three manuscripts I might want to acquire and write reports on them (like an in-depth book report)
  • Text book research for a new course
  • Course development for a new course, and course updating for current courses (again, easier to do now while the ideas are fresh)
  • Start to prepare for the social media panel I am on for a college PD event in May
  • Finalize poetry for a competition and potential publication (very exciting)
  • Guest blog posts as scheduled
  • Draft outlines for new fiction ideas 
  • Organize office (rather sad shape as it always is towards the end of a semester)
  • Read Boris Pasternek. Yes this is an imperative this week.
  • Work on new articulations agreements
  • Mark 26 reports. (I just finished marking 64 essays - part of the reason I was behind this week in the first place!)
  • Create video/storify on "Without books..."
  • Plan marketing strategy with a new author...not my strength, but I like to be involved.
  • Leave comments on blogs I love that I've been reading recently but not having real time to connect with (yes that means you, Bibliomania!)
That's this week. Yes, that's why it scared me. And yet here I am blogging about it instead of starting it. That's because 
  • Update blog
is also supposed to be on that list, along with 
  • find out why the About Me and Editing pages of my blog have vanished, and debate whether it is time to switch my venue.

Today is Friday. Which is a day for editing and that is where I am focusing. I might even give each of the individual projects their own bullet point so it looks like I have more crossed off at the end of the day. That's right. I am attempting to manipulate myself.

Pathetic, isn't it?

How's your day?

*Astute readers may notice housework did not make the list. That's because I absolutely detest and abhor it. Really, I have better things to do with my time.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Hike

Andrew is making nachos and the kids are picking a movie. We're totally planning to vegetate in front of the television tonight, in part because we just got home from a nice long hike in the spring mud. Down the lane, into the woods, across to the next concession along a dirt path that follows the river, and back round by the back roads to the far edge of our property so we could cut back across the fields to home. Three hours we were out, and there was some whining by the end. Good reason to put our feet up tonight. I took pictures as we went, and though the light was great and the colours just perfect, I really liked these in black and white.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Luck of the Irish

Bit bright this background, isn't it. One day only...well, probably two because I will procrastinate. It's for St. Patrick, and all things green. Except beer - we don't do that around here. Leprechauns did however turn the milk a rather putrid shade this morning. Green cereal looks disgusting, but the kids ate it anyway.

Not much to say. But that is a lie. I have lots to say- too much really - but no time to say any of it. If you could see the number of ideas I have for posts...another time, another story.

I am hosting a St Patrick's party tonight. Irish food and beer, maritime music, lots of friends standing around the kitchen. That sort of thing. I haven't hosted a real "planned" party for a long time (though we often seem to host spur of the moment ones), so I am excited about this one and actually have to head into the kitchen shortly to make some food for it. My excitement has nothing to do with my Irish heritage (As my mother used to say, we are descended from the Kings or Ireland...a nod to my maternal great grandparents, the Kings), or my love of loud Irish songs, but more to do with memories of many wonderful St Patrick's Day celebrations at maritime pubs, where the 17th was always, firstly, about friendship.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Country dwelling...

 It's the romantic idea of a homestead with livestock and a big garden and split rail fences with primroses and delphiniums cascading over the side of it.

It's a vision of lemonade on a sprawling veranda, while the smell of fresh sweet hay wafts by on a summer breeze.

It's the thought of charming, dancing lambs, and children playing outside dawn to dusk with no fences, no boundaries, no rules.

All of this exists, yes it does.

But wait.

There is more. And this is what you don't always see or hear about.

The car that never comes clean. I'm talking no point even washing it because it's going to look like this again within two minutes of driving down country lanes. Everytime I drive to the city I park somewhere out of the way, get out and pretend it's not mine. 

And that's on dry days! Our springtime is even more fun.. Yes, lambs are skipping, yes flowers are breaking through dirt, yes spirits are high. We all love spring. But around here it comes with muck, muck and more muck.

Lagoons of mud. Fields that are submerged. Flooded basements and ankle deep ruts of squelchy ooze on the driveway.

Which means the mudroom (aptly named) looks mostly like this. And like the car, there is no point cleaning it.

At least the mudroom gets most of the mud off. Except for the dog, who still hasn't learned to wipe her paws.

And there you have it. The highs and lows of country dwelling.

PS. I am writing this with the house lamb - who is still living in a box beside the fire to the huge chagrin of the cats and the dog - nibbling my toes. Dessert after eating a postcard earlier tonight. He's telling me that it's time for him to be relocated to the barn yard. Another benefit of spring...

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I am practicing with Storify. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Warrior + Poet + Artist = Awesome

I knew there was a reason I like this guy...

Not just a warrior, not just a poet. Not just an artist who speaks multiple languages.

But also a supporter of books and writers...and is that a nod to Arthurian legend in the name of his publishing company? Yes it is (I was scared to google in case it wasn't, but no, Viggo is apparently a fan of the Round Table as well. Because he is not already awesome enough!)