The joy of books

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too good to not see.

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Letter to the Mayor and Napanee Town Council and local papers

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I have been seething with anger for a couple weeks now. I felt the need to write – even though I  know it won’t make one bit of a difference. This is what I just sent to town council and our local papers.

Dear Mayor Gordon Schermerhorn and Napanee Town Council,

Your decision to close our indoor pool is a very disappointing one.

Part of the reason we moved to your district 7 years ago was because of this amenity. We value an activity we can do as a family, no matter what our age or skill level. This is an important element a pool (unlike ANY other sports facility) provides to all ages.

In this age of the obesity epidemic and the recent drowning deaths of children in our own community I find it foolhardy and disrespectful of the family unit, of people’s health and to our community as a whole.

FACT: There were 89 drownings in eastern Ontario of children under 19 in 2010. 13 were under age 5. TOPPING the list of recommendations to prevent these tragedies – LEARNING to SWIM.

You continue to degrade those in our society now that may not have the means or transportation to get to another pool even more, leaving them and their children out in the cold. This is not acceptable. We live near many bodies of water – all our children need to know how to swim.

We now have to drive 1 hour and 20 minutes for a round trip to the nearest pool. This is not something easily accomplished during a full time work week, children in daycare and school and the need to spend less money. If you add in the increased risk of driving, the cost of gas and the time it takes to do anything with children – you might realize how much your decision has impacted your average pool-using resident. 

Yet, our taxes have gone up by 71% since we moved here seven years ago. As a rural citizen I find that increasingly hard to swallow – especially when something is taken away that is so vital.

It has been a necessary part of my children’s fitness, safety and development to swim, at least once a week throughout the year. It was a necessary thing for me when I could not do much else but swim when pregnant. It is a necessity to those suffering from arthritis and other diseases that alter their mobility. Being in a pool provides relief from gravity.

This was a very shortsighted move. Now – when I take my children to swim on the weekends – we will shop elsewhere. We will stop to eat elsewhere. Unfortunately – we will join another community.

One more tie broken to where we actually live = less money spent in our town.

We will miss the people we have gotten to know so well over the years and that feeling of a lovely, little community we had at the pool.

In closing –
I thank you, for the consideration you gave the ‘pool people’ as you so eloquently called us at your meetings.
I thank you for making our family time more about driving than doing.
I thank you for how politely and respectfully you turned down every proposal that could have kept a pool open in our community while a new option was created.

Sincerely,
Peggy Collins

Dear Blogger – it has been way too long since my last post…

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I’ve been busy – it seems to be my mantra these days. Every day. But it is true.

I’ve been writing (LOTS)
Moved into my new studio (pictures to come)
I’ve been making Tutu’s,
Fatou’s storysack journey,
Doll clothes,
dinner…

I’ve been enjoying time with family and friends, and well, I haven’t much news right now.

Life is ever-changing and sometimes people enter for a reason, and that has been happening a lot lately. I am trying to be open to this, and to embrace the change I need, we need, for our family. I am searching for the lifestyle I want to live – and a way to make a regular paycheck as well. We’ll see where this is all going. In the meantime, here are some random shots of creations that have come about in the last month or so.

Packaging Your Imagination 2011

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What a day.

Today was the annual PYI conference in Toronto. I almost did not make it.
MO was up all night sick to his stomach and I felt terrible guilt at heading out – but I did.
My drive was fast and uneventful – until I had to find parking. I pulled into a $10 PUBLIC underground parking lot entrance, the garage door closed behind me and the ticket machine was not working. SO, here I am stuck in between the arm and the closed garage door, laying on my horn, shouting for help. There was a hot coffee steaming in the booth, and fresh bananas – but NO one around. So here I am, LATE already for the conference I have been WAITING for… so, after about ten minutes I backed my car up to the garage door praying NO one else comes in, I run over to the other side, STOMP on the cord to open the door, RUN back into the car and hit reverse to bust out of there. Got out, found an outdoor lot – stick my card in to pay and it gets STUCK! Seriously. Pressed the help button, they reset the machine and I was off to go…

I met up with friend and critique group member Ishta and Kari-lynn Winters with whom I got to have another little parking lot adventure (I hope you got out ok!) and got to chat about a STINKY event in Balls Falls coming this spring…

I missed the welcome address, but made it for my first workshop with  Catherine Rondina. A very well-written non-fiction author and we talked about connections. The degrees of separation that separate us all – interesting. It is true though – that opportunity knocks – you just have to listen. It was a wonderful workshop.

Next up was Bill Slavin, I’ve been a long-time admirer of Bill’s. He is famous for many things, but the Stanley books are up there. He talked about character development – check out his blog for the notes. He is awesome. I loved seeing his original art, and I love, like me, he usually draws things once.

My last workshop was with Ruth Ohi. I had a feeling we’d be kindred spirits… but when she showed her bookshelf (which looked remarkably like mine), and then some pages from the Secret Art of Dr. Seuss… not to mention that her kids are a HUGE source of inspiration for her… I knew I would like her. She did not disappoint – she LOVES, LOVES, LOVES what she does and she just glows talking about it. She shared lots of things and was uber inspiring – AND her lovely sister Debbie Ohi (who I follow on twitter) was there too, so I got to meet them both.

Our Keynote speaker was Kathy Stinson. I was in tears as she spoke of her son shaving, and packing up baby clothes and the desire for more time. She was eloquent and passionate. It was a beautiful end to a lovely day.

Thank you CANSCAIP for another great conference.