Here’s a great new service being offered by one of my favourite authors, Kevin Brennan! If you are thinking of self-publishing and need help with editing – and we ALL need editing help! – check out what Kevin has come up with on this handy-dandy new website! (Kevin has been previously featured, a number of times, on Reading Recommendations.)
Welcome to my shingle-hanging announcement, folks! As of today, I’m open for business as an editor of indie books destined for publication on Amazon et al.
I’m calling the operation Indie-Scribable. Indie for the indie part, and “scribable” for scribes. Clever, eh?
Come on over and have a look at my brand-spanking-new website.
I haven’t talked about it on the blog, but for most of my career I was an editor. I started at a medical publisher back in St. Louis, copyediting three or four different journals — such learned organs as Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and, my favorite, the Journal of Enterostomal Therapy! Oh joy.
After that I was managing editor of the American Heart Association journal, Circulation, and then the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Yes, I paid my dues in the…
View original post 381 more words
OCLC WorldCat – find copies in a library near you!
Haliburton County Public Library (including Minden Hills Branch)
(If you know of any other libraries that lend copies of Island in the Clouds, please let me know and I will add to this list.)
Not to be alarmist or anything, but …
NO! I DO WANT TO BE ALARMIST WITH THIS BLOG!!!
I’m reblogging a post I wrote in June 2015, part of my series about the virus Chikungunya that so many of us suffered from in 2014, and that some are still suffering from today, if the number of hits those posts continue to receive is any indication.
Last June, a brand new mosquito-borne virus named Zika was beginning to enter the Caribbean. At that time, we were told that it was a “Chikungunya or Dengue Fever-like” virus, but we had no idea then of the long term effects this particular virus would have on pregnant women who contracted it and the babies they subsequently gave birth to.
And a more recent report: Three Zika virus cases confirmed In Barbados
And an absolutely alarming video of what’s been happening with babies born since last June … It’s reported that there have been over 3500 such births in Brazil alone!!
And finally, a report released today by the CDC that the first cases have been reported in the US.
Following is the blog post I wrote back in June 2014, and in all this time not one word has come from the St. Vincent Government by way of warning to citizens and tourists, and there have been no plans discussed as to how we will be better prepared this time to combat these blasted mosquitoes that are carrying the new virus. Other than the NGO Rise Up Bequia posting to its Facebook site, I have seen nothing at all about this virus. You’d think they would have learned from Chikungunya, right?
Perhaps now that the US has reported cases, our local Caribbean governments will begin to take this new virus much more seriously and we won’t be caught as we were with Chikungunya, essentially closing the barn door after the horses had already escaped.
And a word of advice to the authorities … fogging with chemicals has never, ever worked to eradicate mosquitoes in the past. All it does is kill off the honey bees and poison the rest of us on the island. We need to clean up all standing water and any places where mosquitoes breed. And every citizen must become vigilant about this. We can’t afford to wait for the government to do this for us. We also can’t hide our heads in the sand again, claiming that this will scare away the tourists. We owe it to those tourists to be honest, to warn them of the dangers involved should they contract any virus, and let them decide whether they want to take the risk. Really, there would be little risk involved, if they are made aware of the need to always use insect repellent – and (a BIG if here) if the people of the Caribbean do as much as they can to clean up the environment and diminish the number of mosquitoes.
So, yes, alarmist, but I believe the alarm is necessary. I would not want anyone to have to go through what I did with Chikungunya. I still have problems with pain in my shoulder, a full year-and-a-half after I first contracted the virus. NO ONE needs to be unnecessarily exposed to any virus, since we really do have the means to rid our islands of mosquitoes.
Here’s my blog post from last June:
At the very least, this new virus has a name that’s easier to spell and pronounce. But it’s still yet-another virus the Caribbean region must contend with, and only a short while after declaring that ChikV was over and done with in most islands.
It was less than a year ago I contracted ChikV when I returned to Bequia for a few weeks to spell Dennis while he paid a visit to Canada. Throughout the months of suffering … and yes, I do not use the word “suffering” lightly! … I wrote about the virus in a number of blog posts (collected here) that received a great deal of attention from around the world and comments written by others who had also contracted the virus while they were visiting, or living in, the Caribbean region, and who now took comfort in the knowledge they were not alone, that they were likely not going to die, and that they would eventually, eventually recover and feel “normal” again.
Well, here I am, writing this 11 months later, and I can honestly say I am feeling about 96% recovered, the only lingering pain being that soreness that seems to be inside the very bones of my right shoulder. That still bothers me every once in a while (just last night, again), but is not excruciating or debilitating, just annoying.
So you may understand my trepidation with the announcement of this new easier-to-spell-and-pronounce virus, Zika. I am gun-shy about travelling to the Caribbean again any time soon. While I currently sit in the woods of Ontario, surrounded by clouds of mosquitoes, I at least know these are the non-virus-bearing variety. Besides, they’re also large enough to carry away a small dog and move so slowly I have a fair chance of actually swatting and killing them before they can manage to bite. It seems like more of a fair fight to me. The mosquitoes on Bequia are sneaky and have a way of beating all our attempts to eradicate them – especially the fogging with poisonous chemicals, which was the only attempt made by the government to deal with Chikungunya last year, and instead resulted in the kill-off of part of the bee population. The mosquitoes themselves somehow managed to dodge that bullet. What stopped the further spread of the virus was that nearly everyone on the island contracted it and, since the virus could not be spread from human to human, it eventually died out, naturally. This is what’s called “herd immunity”.
Let’s hope Caribbean health authorities and governments learned from their mistakes last year in dealing with ChikV and, instead of hiding their heads in the sand (believing that by doing so they were somehow protecting their tourist industry), they take immediate action to stop the spread of Zika, the new kid on the beach, before it gets a foothold. No one … NO ONE! should be made to suffer again as we all did last year with Chikungunya. Bad enough already we have to contend with the constant threat of Dengue (which I have had), Malaria, West Nile, and all the other mosquito-borne diseases, fevers, threats, than to be worried about Zika, as well.
And we can begin eradicating viruses such as Zika by educating the people! This blog post, and the other earlier posts I wrote about ChikV, are my attempt to spread the word to help stop the spread of the virus. Please share this, and my other posts, wherever possible so that many more people read and hear about these mosquito-borne viruses and learn to take proper precautions.
SPREAD THE WORD TO STOP THE SPREAD OF ZIKA!
(How’s that for a slogan?)
I want to hear from you, if you contracted Chikungunya last year and have been following my blog posts abut the virus. How are you doing? Have you now recovered? Please post a comment below and let me and my readers know of your experience. I really do want to hear from you!
It still amazes me that after all this time of writing my blog – which was mainly meant to be about all things “Books” – the two search words/phrases that are still most often used, almost daily, and by which people are directed to my blog are “Chikungunya” (tells me there are too many people out there still suffering with this awful virus!) and “baking bread in a pizza oven”. “Meeting my best friend for the first time” is the third most-popular phrase. I’ve posted links (above in the menu on a separate page) to all the posts I wrote regarding Chikungunya. But I thought I’d reblog a few earlier posts regarding that good old pizza oven Dennis built a number of years ago. We have it in mind to publish a guide some day to building your own backyard pizza oven. It’s obvious there’s an interest! So here’s some of the links to those posts I’ve pulled out of the vault today for your reading pleasure, and the answer to that burning (!) question so many of you seem to have … Can I bake bread in a pizza oven? (And, no, we have not fired up the oven this morning to bake pizza or bread – it’s pissing down rain!!!)
You can bake bread in a pizza oven, but you can’t bake pizza in a bread oven. The temperature in our oven can get up to 900F, so that a pizza cooks perfectly in a matter of minutes. Then, after the oven temperature falls overnight, you can bake bread the next day. We prepared several batches of dough early in the morning.
Bread bakes a bit faster than in a conventional oven, and the crust is much crunchier, plus you get that great crackling sound as the bread cools. Here’s the first batch, fresh out of the oven. (Jay is in the background, lounging in the pool. Such a mild-mannered guy, how were we to know he’d soon be scarfing down nearly an entire baguette all by himself?)
And Mr. McAnderson surprised us with this great sign he picked up at a flea market in Notting Hill, and will likely soon be nailed to the rum shack right next to the pizza oven.
In May, 2011, I broke my left wrist and was in a cast for 6 weeks. In Dec. 2015, I broke my left ankle and have been in a cast these past 6 weeks. Since I’m now faced with restoring the strength and muscles of an appendage, once again, I realize that my very best means of exercise is still to swim. I was reminded of this post I wrote about what an important part of my life water, and swimming, have always been. And always will be.
So, here I am swimming for exercise …
No, Wait!! HERE I am swimming …
Astrologically I’m Cancer – a water sign. I don’t remember learning to swim. My family bought our cottage the year I was born, so I spent every summer there until I was old enough to work and stay in the city. I do remember living in the water most of that time, swimming in the lake as early as Easter weekend, and driving my Mom nuts if the ice hadn’t quite melted. We wore bathing suits from the moment we got out of bed in the morning until we had to go back to bed at night, At least, that’s how it seemed.
It’s funny … we lived in The Beach in Toronto, south of Queen St. and less than a block away from the boardwalk and sand next to Lake Ontario, yet my best memories of swimming are always from when we were at the cottage.
Mom was scared of water and never put her head under, but Dad could float – with his hands behind his head and his feet crossed, as though he were relaxing on a lounger. I can do this, too, so I figure I inherited my swimming gene from Dad.
When I was in Grade 3, an indoor pool was built as part of the new senior public school, Glen Ames, next door to our elementary school, Williamson Road. Lucky me! Grade 3 students were given swimming lessons – once a week, I think it was. Plus that same pool was open in the evenings and weekends for *free* swimming. I loved Toronto! The public pools were free to use, just like our lake up north in the summer.
Malvern Collegiate also had a pool, plus the bonus of a speed swimming team and synchronized swimming lessons. I’m a strong swimmer, but was never that fast, so 5th Place in Toronto one year (out of a field of 6) was my best showing. I can swim distances though and I like nothing better than swimming lengths. We did try to swim across South Lake once or twice, too. What an achievement that we made it! So while I continued on the swim team for a few years, and endured early morning practices during the winter months, I still preferred solitary swimming.
I became a lifeguard and eventually took the swimming instructors’ course, but soon learned I wasn’t cut out to teach kids – anything. The lifeguarding was cool though and paid very well indeed. Certainly much better than what my friends made by babysitting. In Grade 13, I even got the job guarding the school pool during my free periods. (I recently met up with one of the male gym teachers at a Malvern reunion. When I told him I’d had this cushy job of guarding the pool, he said, “You’re the reason the boys had to start wearing suits in swim class!” Ahem!) The best part of guarding and teaching, though, was when we kicked everyone out of the pool, they went home, and I had the pool to myself for a while. Heaven!
Off to university, and I was thrilled that our student fees at Queen’s gave us free access to all sports facilities, including a fairly new Olympic-sized pool. I discovered early on that, if I swam lengths immediately before writing an exam, I could calm myself down and focus much better than if I studied right up to the last minute.
Moving to Calgary was a shock – there were many pools in the city, but… I had to pay to swim!!! I didn’t swim here for many years. Just too cheap to pay for something that had always been free to me. Someone gave me a City of Calgary Parks and Recreation card that still had 4 visits on it. I was going to go back to swimming again, for exercise, but then fell and broke my wrist. After 6 weeks in a cast I was finally able to get into the water this past Monday. I’ve been swimming lengths for three days now and I feel great! 30 lengths each day on Monday and Tues. Up to 36 today. And I’m not pushing it either. Plus my wrist is already feeling better. Bonus!
But the best part of swimming lengths, for me, is that I can either turn off my brain and just count the number of lengths as I complete them, or I can think, think, think things through. For some reason, I’ve come up with some of my best ideas whenever I’m in contact with water – doing dishes, showering, swimming. For instance, this blog post was conceived and written in my head while I was in the pool this morning. Highly frustrating though when paper & pen or computer don’t work as well under water. And to try to remember my thoughts until I can dry my hands does not always happen for me. So I just have to hope that, if it truly is a brilliant idea, it will last or at least return when I’m able to do something about it.
So, Woohoo! for the exercise I’m finally getting, and for the calming effect that swimming lengths has on my mind, emotions and life – not to mention the couple of pounds I’ve already lost. Like J. Alfred, I’m measuring out my life, but with pool lengths rather than coffee spoons.
Since I wrote this blog post, someone has come up with this brilliant idea for AquaNotes! Perfect for someone like me!!