Vivian’s View From Here: Centre of Attention

0121-e1363317083865 (556x450)Good afternoon, all of you precious peeps out there!

Whether you’re of the furry variety of friend or not, welcome back to Jennifer’s Journal. Maisie and I LOVE when you drop by for a visit, and even more so when we are allowed to be front and centre.

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Jennifer woke up with a pesky migraine this morning and couldn’t concentrate on writing, so I suggested she relax, look at some pretty pictures of us, and let me do the talking. So here I am.

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As many of you already know, my sister and I have enjoyed being the centre of attention in Jennifer’s “animal-loving world” since 2007, when she and our “dad” rescued us as kittens from the pound. Are we spoiled? Nah. How can one be spoiled by too much love?004 (640x358)

And guess what? She hardly misses an opportunity to tell us how she adores being woken up each morning by our soft nudges and warm cuddles, and how much happiness we bring to her life in general.IMG_0189 (640x516)

When she leaves us to go in town for nine or ten days at the end of this week, I know for certain she will miss our fluffy, friendly, purring cuteness more than she’s willing to admit.003 (640x299)

We, on the other hand, will muddle through somehow until she gets back.
At least our “dad” will be here with us most of the time.

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Jennifer will have to make do with these other critters for animal companionship at her daughter’s house…

Can you imagine? Such a profound sacrifice!

Ginger & Nico

Ginger & Nico

Something tells me, however, that she kind of likes that other cat — and stranger still, that big, curly, doggie creature. Go figure. And I’ll bet you dollars to dentabone treats she’s going to smell like him too, when she comes home. (Ugh!)

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But that’s par for the course when you own a human who loves all animals, not just her own. She knows we understand. And she knows we will be waiting here with eager purrs and sandpaper smooches when she returns.

Signing off now, so until next time, thanks for reading, everyone!
~ head bumps & nose kisses,
Vivian <3

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“You know, sometimes the world seems like a pretty mean place. That’s why animals are so soft and huggy.” – Bill Watterson

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This has been our contribution to Ailsa’s photo theme: Centre
at wheresmybackpack.com
and
this week’s entry in:weeklypets

Do you ever have to go away and leave your fur babies behind?
Do you miss them when you do?

Friday Bouquet #18

When I took part in last month’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: Reward, I discovered blogger Karen Anderson, a photographer from Surrey, England.

Expressing My Vision – a Journey into Creativity and Beyond 
is the name of Karen’s blog. In her own words from her About page:

I am an amateur photography enthusiast who enjoys experimenting with different genres in my quest to find my style. I will turn my hand to anything. I do have a few images under licence with Getty Images, I also do photoshoots and wedding photography for family and friends, as well as any other photographs I am asked for. BUT I am not trying to make a living out of photography…I am in it for the love of the art and part of the fun for me is in sharing and learning more.”

Check out the link below to see Karen’s Reward post that caught my eye. In it, she shares photographs of a chance visit by two adorable robins, as well as a fitting poem by Thomas Hardy: The Robin – perfect for our neck of the woods, as we saw our first robin hopping around in the garden just yesterday.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward
by Expressing My Vision

Comments are closed here in the hope you will visit and comment on Karen’s page.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

<3

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Book Deal!

Who says Friday the 13th has to be unlucky?

Allow me to set the scene. It was late at night, exactly a month ago yesterday. Paul and I arrived home from dinner and a fun evening at our friends’ house, and as we usually do, sat down to watch a little TV before going to bed. Yawning, I opened my iPad and absently checked Facebook, then my email.

And there it was:
a contract offer from a publisher for my coming-of-age novel, Calmer Girls.
I sat there, staring at the screen, stunned for a moment.

Wha-a-a?

Wha-a-a?

I had queried this publisher with a partial months ago. Subsequently, they had expressed an interest, requesting the full manuscript for review. This occurred with another publisher a while back, who ultimately passed on it. As more months flew by, the cautious hope I had held dwindled, and not being the most patient gal, I assumed they were going to reject it as well.

But they didn’t.

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Yes! It’s happening. They actually like my book!

I received the contract. After giving it due diligence and negotiating several changes that were important to me, I signed.

My dream was coming true.

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Yay!!!

My new publisher is an independent, traditional press, and I’m already getting great vibes from them. They are an enthusiastic team, and they seem to be very dedicated to bringing my work to life.

Colour me superstitious, but I would like to keep all other details under wraps for the time being, until I am further along in the process. But I will reveal now that it is a two-book deal: they want first rights to the sequel as well. :)

So I am looking ahead to a busy future. While I begin work at the end of the month with my new editor on any revisions or tweaks for the first book, I will also be working on my own to tackle edits on the second. After that, there will be cover artwork and design, and the development and launch of my new author website.

To my fellow writers: have you been contracted by a publishing company yet?
How did you feel when you got the news?
Or have you gone the self-pub route instead?

Has Friday the 13th ever turned out lucky for you?

Please share your experience with me and my readers.

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Easter Week with the Kids

This week is a definite departure from the usual routine at our house.
My daughter and her family came to visit on Good Friday, and we had a fun weekend together. Denise and Dave went back to town on Sunday, leaving the children with us for their entire Easter holidays. Here are a few photos.

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“Who cares if we have snow for Easter? Perfect for a snowman, by.”

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nearly finished

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“We always have fun with our Dad…

…and our Nan.”

skinniest snowman ever

Scrawniest snowman ever!

our boy

our boy

Saturday was alright! Nico had fun too.

Saturday was alright! Nico had fun too.

My beautiful daughter <3 - missing her babies big-time right about now

beautiful daughter <3 – probably missing the children terribly about now!

First attempt at bunny pancakes

Nanny’s first attempt at bunny pancakes

Just listenin' to my iPod

just listenin’ to my iPad

Pop's treasures

Pop’s treasures

Some love for Vivian

As always, a little love for Vivian is well-received.

Another picture, Nan?

Another picture, Nanny?

Needless to say, my time and energy have been devoted mostly to our little guests.
How was your Easter?

In my next post, I will be sharing some news. Stay tuned!

Ephemeral

To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty. ~ H. P. Lovecraft

Captured from our doorstep last weekend…

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…and a few minutes later.
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Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

Friday Bouquet #17

I’m shaking things up for Friday Bouquet this morning. Usually I award it to a fellow blogger found doing something wonderful in the blogosphere, but this time I am throwing the bouquet to my sister and the therapy dog program.

Lynn is an assistant professor and nursing instructor at the Memorial School of Nursing in St. John’s, but her contribution to health care and humankind hasn’t stopped there. Please click on the link below – wouldn’t you know it, a WordPress blog by Eastern Health Story Line – to find out what she and her little dog Abbey have been up to, and be sure to look for their photos. All of my animal lover friends are sure to enjoy it. :)

http://storyline.easternhealth.ca/2015/03/19/canine-therapy-a-warm-and-fuzzy-feeling/

Have you had any experience with canine therapy?
What about the health benefits of spending time with other animals?

Here are two other sisters wishing you a warm and wonderful weekend. <3

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zzzz…

Maisie & Vivian

Maisie & Vivian

Perry Boys

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Courtesy of Getty Images

When my husband Paul was six years old, he and his family moved from Newtown, the little community in which we live now, to live in the capital city of St. John’s. Their parents relocated so that David, Paul’s oldest sibling, could attend the Vera Perlin school for his special needs. On the day of the big move, Paul crawled up under the house – the actual house we live in now – in a show of protest. “Everyone should be able to live where they were born,” he argued, but the die had been cast. He was pulled out and packed into the car with everyone else.100_0534

On the very first day at their new school, Paul and his other brother, Kevin, who is one year older, decided to walk home from school for lunch, despite being told to stay there and eat the lunch they’d brought. But when they saw other children going home, they wanted to go as well. Unfamiliar with their new neighbourhood, the two boys got lost, and Kevin started to cry.

Brave little Paul tried his best to console his big brother by distracting him. “Don’t cry, Kev. Look at the pigeons,” he said, pointing at a bunch of them as they waddled across the sidewalk, hoping the strange, tame city birds might cheer him up. It worked, and they ended up following a classmate to his house. Between the jigs and the reels, their dad had to leave work and go pick them up.

Let’s go back a couple of years, when Paul was four and Kevin was five, to another time the younger boy displayed his wisdom. A new addition to the family of three boys had arrived, and this time, it was a girl! When their mom brought baby Julie Ann home, the boys crowded around to get a look at their new sister. Kevin’s eyes opened wide when her diaper came off to be changed. “Look, Paul,” he said, incredulous. “She ain’t got nar topper!” (penis)
“No, ya foolish,” Paul said, enlightened beyond his years. “She got whatever Mom got.”

Now before you think I’m beating up on my brother-in-law, I’d like to share one more tale. Okay, two. When Paul was about nine and enjoying his summer holidays in Newtown, Kevin saved him from drowning. Paul was diving with some other boys off of Burnt Island, but he tired in the deep water and panicked. Kevin grabbed him by the hair on top of his head and pulled him to safety. newtown

Years later, when Kevin was just beginning his teaching career, he and Paul were driving along in St. John’s one evening. Without warning, Kevin pulled over, stopped the car, and jumped out. He’d spied two teenage boys in a fist fight near the local hockey rink, and he wanted to stop them. Paul watched as he parted the boys, reasoned with them, and ended the scuffle.

It was a day he never forgot. Where most people would just keep going and not get involved, Kevin stepped in and tried to solve the problem. It made Paul really proud of his brother.

Paul confessed there were other boyhood fights where Kev stepped in and rescued Paul himself, fights my husband started and couldn’t finish. I would say he’s grateful for those too. And so am I. :)

L to R: David, Paul, Julie, and Kevin

L to R: David, Paul, Julie, and Kevin

Thirteen-year-old Paul

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Walls – Part 2

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For one of the weeks of our vacation in Italy, our party of eight stayed in a stone farmhouse villa in the Tuscan region near Siena and Florence. It is known by the Italians as an Agriturismo.

Located in the province of Arezzo, this ancient agriturismo, the Scarpellino, had been renovated in 2005. All of its original architectural details were restored.

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I loved how warm and homey the villa felt with all of its stone walls, inside and out.

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I also loved where it was situated, nestled in the middle of vineyards and olive trees.
Complete privacy was a given.

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Here are some inside shots:

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villa19One would think the hard stonework of the walls would make one feel cold.

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 Perhaps it is my “inner cavewoman” that likes the atmosphere stone walls create.

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The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Walls

Weekly Photo Challenge: Walls – Part I

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Siena, one of our beloved destinations during our trip to Italy,
is a walled city in Tuscany that has preserved its medieval, gothic appearance.
This World Heritage Site seemed a fitting showcase for this week’s Photo Challenge.

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Surrounded by olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti, Siena is set on three hills,
drawn together by winding alleyways and steep steps.

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It offers a bustling life throughout its streets and squares with its many boutiques and shops, cultural events, theater, and a range of sporting activities.

 

The centre of Siena is accessible primarily on foot.

Cars, other than taxis and police, are prohibited, but motorcycles and scooters are allowed.

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Come back tomorrow for a look at some other walls. Arrivederci!

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Belonging

012 (1024x559)My life, over its span thus far, has weathered significant change.
I know I’m not unique in this, but both as a child and as an adult,
I’ve lived through a number of transitions,
a multitude of moves, two marriages, and many homes.

013 (1024x613)Some people I know have lived in one place throughout their entire existence.
I try to imagine what that’s like:
living in the same town you always have, where you’ve always belonged.

020 (1024x678)Some of my upheavals, both personal and professional,
were unexpected, unplanned, and downright painful.

021 (1024x614)Other transitions were dreamed up, longed for, and finally brought to fruition.
And yet, these changes have pegged me as somewhat of an unknown,
a newcomer who will probably always feel
a little like someone on the outside, looking in.

069 (1024x742)Being an introvert at heart,
this is not as strange a designation for me as you might think.
My “rich inner life” keeps me warm and happy.
I let myself love and experience all the things that mean the most to me.

057 (1024x624)I allow myself to belong in this life I’ve created,
just as everyone belongs to the bigger picture that is the universe,
to bear witness to a journey filled with joy, sorrow, and exquisite beauty.

Perhaps Mary Oliver* said it best:

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*“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver (full poem)

Where do you feel the greatest sense of belonging?
What is “your place in the family of things”?

A special thanks to Kath Unsworth,
who shared the poem on her
 Facebook page
and inspired this post.