Boundbytheword Blog

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Ah, Spring April 24, 2013

Filed under: What's Up? — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 9:06 AM
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The time of new beginnings. Time for regrowth and renewal, when we clean out closets and rid the clutter in our homes and yards. During that first outdoor assessment after the snow melts, you can expect damage done by Father Winter and plan for an afternoon or weekend of yard cleanup.

When we lived south in the suburbs, this meant a general sweep of the 75’ lot, to pick up wayward sticks and rubbish that may have found its way into the yard. Now that we live down the country lane in Boontown,  it means hours of chainsaw fun to clear fallen trees, then gather, load, stack, or burn the wreckage.

It didn’t help that we had an ice storm in April that brought down massive branches around the property – we especially love the ones that play chicken with our vehicles.

Though wacky nature makes for a lovely photo or two, the labour it creates is more of an ongoing seasonal activity than a few hours of casual afternoon tidy up.

For county living folk, spring cleanup also lends to finding all kinds of hidden treasures on your land. Usually the dog is a big help finding all the things you wish you never saw. I’m truly grateful for having a passive dog that lives to please, and who most often stops the minute I give a squeal, shout or scream of horror. My sweet Maalik usually stops short of picking up his finds – which is a relief – because I admit I’m one of those dog owners who gives my pooch the odd face smooch. It’s not like I kiss him square on the lips or anything, but a muzzle nuzzle wouldn’t be happening anytime soon if he had in fact retrieved the foot he excitedly found laid out like a movie prop on our back acreage.

Yes, some great finds this year besides the poor dismembered beast – including half eaten tomatoes (?!?) and a dead porcupine. On the upside, I guess we won’t have to worry about the porcupine damage to our trees that has been a problem in the past. (see my past post about our pesky porcupine)


Ah yes, a fresh breath of air and tranquil country living. Spring is all about the new beginnings.


A rose by any other name… April 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 1:07 AM

Choose your battles. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It is what it is.

I believe in those mantras wholeheartedly. But there’s always that one thing that just needles you and the worm of  irritation gets set in your skull. At that point the ability to listen to level-headed, logical advice seems to evade you. That’s where I’m at.

My daughter no longer wants to go by her lovely given name of Lainey, and now prefers (or rather demands) to be called Shadow. This has been going on for the last year, but it’s becoming more of an issue in the last few months. We got a note home from the teacher saying she refused to sign her given name and was handing in everything signed Shadow. She alshadow 1so battles it out with peers who won’t relent to the name preference, and corrects anyone who calls her what she was born with that her name that is actually Shadow, not Lainey. Sometimes she has success with it – like with our amazing Naturopath who made up her tincture with Shadow on the label (which scored big points), or with her Taekwondo coaches and teammates as they cheer her on. Her best friend has been calling her that since last summer and now asks to speak to Shadow when he calls to talk to her on the phone. She’s thrilled when someone does oblige with the name change, is miserable when someone resists, and has informed us on many occasions that she will be changing it the very day of her 16th birthday. Oy.

shadow 3Overall, I’m not sure if it is a menacing Shadow,  a mysterious Shadow, or a bright sunny day kind of Shadow – though that one  might be wishful thinking. Regardless, Shadow is what she likes to be called.

But, here’s the thing – I can’t really do it. I feel like an idiot calling her Shadow. Not only do I like her name (as most mothers who pick names for their children do), but it just irks me every time I say her name and she corrects me. I’m a-0k with her friends calling her that, or her bribing her brother to use it, as in when he asks for a favour she says, “Call me Shadow for a whole week or no deal”. But for me to call out across the grocery aisle, “Shadow, grab a carton of yogurt, will you?” I just feel like a dolt. I tell myself to choose my battles, I tell myself this is a phase. I tell myself to lighten up.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for children expressing themselves. I don’t insist on certain kinds of clothes, or haircuts. I believe everyone is unique and special and should do what they need to do to shine and feel good about themselves.  I want them to be happy – that’s it. The rest is gravy. But Shadow? Seriously? I just choke on it every time. Truth be told, I try not to call her any name these days, and if I need her attention, I call her hun or sweetie, or even dolly. But now that I’ve written it out, I guess those aren’t any less ridiculous than what she wants to be called.

When I was growing up, my childhood neighbour (who, like my daughter, is also an artistic soul – maybe that’s what’s going on here) went through a long phase where she wanted to be called Angel Rosebud. She used to give herself body tattoos with pen, and went an entire summer inking her bellybutton up to look like a giant sunburst. She also went about two full years without smiling in a single photograph. She turned out okay in the end, and we call her by her given name now. No Angel Rosebud required.

I may just have to toss in the towel on this one. Or maybe I’ll strike her a deal that I’ll call her Shadow if she calls me Ms. Marvelous. Remind me again – when does this get easier?


Dusting off the blogwebs… April 12, 2013

Filed under: What's Up? — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 9:08 AM

It’s been awhile and oh – how I have missed you all!

I know I wetake me backnt MIA. Went into the bloggers black hole and left my readers for a good long while without so much as a “stay tuned” or even a BRB. My bad. I won’t make grand or lame excuses, I’ll just say – honey, I’m home – will you please take me back?

So if you’re still reading, consider us blog buddies once again, and I’ll catch you up on what’s been happening down this snowy country lane the last little while.

2012 was a certain rollercoaster ride of a year for me, but when I start to get bogged down about how pissy the entire thing was, the angel on my shoulder says “Hey now, don’t forget about the good stuff!” And so, I’ll just say, 2012 was full of high highs and low lows. It was a year of wonderful beginnings and sorrowful endings, and a year of change for certain. Let’s just say, I welcomed 2013 with open arms.

On the high side, my mother is cancer free and healthy, my family is happy, and I am getting paid for doing work I love. Yup, 2013 has brought health, happiness and prosperity, so who can complain?

Speaking to my job, I started with Canadian Authors last May and am loving my role as Program Director. Big changes are staring to happen – we have just launched an e-zine (an online magazine); in a few weeks we’ll launch a new website, new logo, and new member newsletter; and in a few short months we’ll be hosting an amazing writers’ conference, our 2013 literary awards, and a bunch of new and exciting programming including Young Authors of Canada for teens! (I wasn’t great at balancing work, family, writing, and blogging – something had to give, dear friends, but again – no excuses for blog abandonment!)

CanadianAuthorCoverYou can check out how darn pretty (and informative) the e-zine turned out by clicking the cover to the right or you can  link to the Canadian Author e-zine here.

I’ll also let you know when the new website is up and running, so we can all ooooooh and ahhhhhh together.

As for writing life, I’m ashamed to say I haven’t penned daily (as every good writer should!) for the last few months. In fact, I just got back on the writing wagon and can’t believe how much I’ve missed the characters in my new book. Interesting how starting back to writing the new novel brought me back to the blog. Every successful writer I’ve ever known has said the trick is writing something every day – it’s a “rule” I’ve heard about for many years. But I think the trick of it is writing something you love, or that you are driven to write every day is the key. Working for a long-standing writers’ organization in an everyday working capacity does keep me writing, but I forgot about the passion part. The creative process is much like a jealous lover – ignored too long, and it will make you beg for mercy or worse yet – leave you.

So I am back at writing my daily doses, and will be sure to send my weekly blog posts to let you know what’s up, and how it’s hangin’.

But the posts won’t be explicitly sexual in nature, no matter how suggestive that last line came out in the end.

Or that one.

Cheers – it’s good to be blogging again!