Sunday, January 31, 2010

end of January

Where did January go?
Usually January is a dreary month, so I gladly wave goodbye.
With Februrary, starting tomorrow, I'm going to plan something new. I'm going to run a different topic every month, and my plan is to update my blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I invite everyone to comment, and let's see what we come up with.
But in the meantime, I gladly wave goodbye to January.
With Febrary will come... the 2010 Winter Olympics.
And traffic restrictions. Clogged roads and highways. They're even closing a bridge tomorrow.
What's really going to be interesting is the weather. It's been unseasonably warm, and that means... no snow has fallen. It's got to snow for a week in order to get the amount of snow that would be ideal.
They're going to start trucking snow down the mountain.
This I gotta see.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Do dogs and cats really watch tv?

I've never had a cat, but I've had dogs since I've been married. Often we have had 2 dogs at a time, so I won't say how many dogs I've had.
Anyway, while I was watching television the other day with my dog, I knew that she was watching, too. Of course since the show was Dog Whisperer, she had a special bond with the stars of that episode. But seriously, she does watch television. She's bored and sleeps through the scenes with people, but if there is a dog on the screen, she's watching. I know she is. I wonder what she thinks?
One of my dogs watched any scene on television that had a cat. Not just house cats, but lions, tigers, if it was in the cat family, she knew it, and all her attention was fixed on the television.
Hmm... that's got to make it into a book one day...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter Olympics 2010 and Paralympics - getting ready

Vancouver BC is one of the most beautiful places on earth. That's why I live here. It's also a very big city, and in a unique growth pattern.
Vancouver is on the west coast, just above the US border, in a rather narrow pathway along the Fraser River. This means as the city grows, it can't go south because that's the US border. It also can't go too far north, because that's into the mountains. It can't go west, because that's the Pacific Ocean. So Vancouver can only grow one way - east. Which is why I live where I do, in the suburbs, but still part of the conglomeration of different cities that are back to back, each independant, but yet still are one big city. And it is big.

And this big city is on the verge of being hit with hundreds of thousands of visitors and tourists as we get ready to host the Winter Olympics in February. The skiing and stuff like that is up at Whistler, which is a few hours drive, with no traffic. Many of the games, like the skating related games, will be held in one of southern cities that is one that makes up the GVRD - Greater Vancouver Regional District.

With that comes... traffic congestion... road closures... limited access issues... parking problems... lack of accomodation... During the Olympics, they're even closing one of the main bridges in the city to be just for Olympics access. The mind boggles.

It's going to be very exciting, but as we're counting down the days, for those of us who live here and have to conduct business and jobs and our day-to-day lives, it's going to be a challenge. Then after the Winter Olympics is the Paralympics. Not as many visitors, but still lots.

Already residents are being asked to do what they can not to travel around the city during the Olympics, specifically, stay home from work or work from home if you can. I actually don't know many who can, and I know even less who can say to the bank, sorry I can't pay my mortgage this month because I'm staying home during the Olympics. The degree of congestion is still unknown, but the plan is for mayhem.

I'll keep you posted about what happens around town as the countdown continues.

One exciting thing - the Olympic Torch passed through town on Friday. Of course, it's exciting to me because I didn't get stuck in the traffic waiting for it to go by.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's That Time Of Year

It's that time of year.

Time to pack up the Christmas decorations... yes, that's done, except for a few lingering remnants.
Time to get serious about a diet and a semi-regular exercise program... uh... no comment... that one doesn't seem to be happening. But I'm going swimming tomorrow. Depending on if I can find my bathing suit.
Time to clean up all the duplicate data and un-used/obsolete programs on my computer... well, that ain't happening.

What it's really time to do is get started with the background promotional works for the pending May release of The Narrow Path. That means starting to organize distribution of the ARCs, which is Advanced Reading Copies. I'm also answering some requests for interviews and marking dates on my calendar/PalmPilot. I'm also setting up a couple of booksignings. It seems so early, but May is going to come much sooner than I expect.

I'm not sure when the reviews are going to start popping up, but when that happens, I'll let you know.

Until then.... let's watch the calendar toether.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gail Sattler and Costco are feeding the birds

As I think I'm settling down for the rest of the winter, until Valentine's Day, anyway, one of the things I do every year is make sure my little feathered friends are looked after. Here on the west coast we don't get a lot of snow, and most of the winter is spent huddled under and umbrella, or at the local Starbucks lamenting the lack of an umbrella. Birds don't drink coffee to keep warm, so instead of putting latees outside for them, I put out a bird feeder filled with good healthy generic birdseed for them to share.
Many days I get a non-stop lineup of hungry visitors, many different species from plain little sparrows to a large kind of bird that's bright yellow that I haven't identified. In the summer I even get Stellars Jays, although they're too big to actually sit on the feeder. They sit on the wooden railing and reach into the feeder.
Feeding the birds doesn't have to be expensive. All winter long Costco has big bags of generic-type wild birdseed for a very reasonable price. A feeder doesn't need to be expensive or fancy either. For a time, I used a large plastic pop bottle that I cut holes in, rammed 2 pieces of wood dowel in for the birds to sit on, and glue-gunned the bottom of a plastic milk jug on top of the bottle for a roof. It fed the birds just fine, although the feeder I have now does look much better (it was on sale, too!). It even has a green roof that matches the paint on my house.
So everyone, please do what you can to feed the birds in the winter. Just please don't make a feeder with birdseed and peanut butter, because they can choke. That's what I heard anyway.
Go to someplace like Costco for your birdseed, because it's "cheep". For me, I think I'm going to pour myself a coffee and watch the birds for a while, then get back to my computer. Who knows, maybe the scene I'm writing today will have birds in it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

more post Christmas postings for decoration despisers

Since a certain person (no names mentioned, but you know who you are) commented that her Christmas decorations are happily put away, I had to respond with thoughts of the next holiday - at least it's a commercial holiday. Or for writers of romance (rising up on my soap box) it SHOULD be a real holiday - Valentine's day is coming. With that, at least in my family, are my son's thoughts - he's trying to think of what he can do with every-day groceries to build a Valentine's Day display for the grocery supermarket where he works. So, Ms. Decoration hater, I hope visions of Valentine's Day decorations dance through your drawers. (sorry I couldn't think of another D word)(and what exactly is a soap box, anyway?)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

After Christmas wonderland

Christmas and the holiday season are over, and it's time to get back to life as we know it. While it's sad that the inside decorations are put away, at least most of them, it's still nice to see that many homes are still decorated with Christmas lights. With it still getting dark so early, I like the little bit of cheer. Especially since here on the west coast, we've had four days of endless rain. So I'd like to remind everyone to enjoy that little bit of holiday leftover spirit, and as you drive by, appreciate the hold-over of enthusiasm of post-Christmas lights, even if it only means other homeowners aren't ready to brave the weather to take them down quite yet.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Gail's First Blog!

This is it, my first blog. I'm glad you came to help me wiggle my toes into the cold water. I say cold because this is the start of the new year of 2010, and it's cold outside in most places in the Northern Hemisphere. Maybe not in Hawaii, but it's cold here in Vancouver today, at least colder than it was yesterday. As much as I dislike the cold, I hope it gets colder in 40 days, not that I want it to rain for 40 days like it did for poor old Noah, but here in Vancouver we're in the final days of winding up for the 2010 Winter Olympics. It will be an exciting time for us here, truly the event of a lifetime. All the last minute preparations are nearing completion, the orginaizing is soon going to reach fever peak. But the most important part is done - the MacDonalds under the tent at the Olympic grounds up in Whistler is done - and a friend sent me a picture from his phone to prove it.