Would you swim in goose poop to save your dog?


Tiny white dot is Mortie’s head. Other brown dart three metres behind is my head.


A nice walk down the lake, that’s what we were after.  Spencer Smith Park offered no parking and the Beach Road was closed. “Let’s go to Lasalle Park,” my photographer husband said.

“Great idea,” I said, knowing I’d be in charge of Mortie and Bob would take pictures of swans and geese.  As we approached the marina, I noticed all the warning signs “Don’t let your pets near the water!” “Don’t feed the water fowl!” There was also lots of detail on e coli pollution from these geese and ducks. No worries, we’re not idiots. We strolled past the marina through the woods to enjoy all the squirrels and chipmunks skittering this way and that.

Bob hung back along the shore to take photos which always stresses Mortie out.  He wears a shoulder harness and a leash meant for a bulldozer dog but he has shed some weight. Mortie not Bob.  At one point, he pulled his usual bucking bronco routine in the harness because he wanted to head back to our photographer.

This time he slipped out.

“Bob, get the dog!”

Oh no!  Distracted by the ducks, Mortie leaped past Bob into the water and paddled after a flock.  The ducks swam towards midlake, Mortie followed. Another flock swam after Mortie. He turned and followed them for awhile.

I called for him. Dog training 101 which Mortie earned A+ on.  Not today.

Back and forth. A crowd gathered on shore.  “Should I go in for him?” I asked Bob.

“I don’t want to lose you.”

Not a great answer.  The water must be up to my bellybutton where the dog was swimming. However it’s five Morties deep. We call some more. More ducks follow Mortie.  He focusses only on these birds. He does not look once to my voice or command. What would happen when he tired?

Augh! I went in. With heavy sandals and a long summer dress on I swam among tall weeds and floating mounds of something. I chased the ducks and Mortie. I grew more tired than Mortie or the ducks.

Finally the ducks fluttered off and we ended up near the dock.  Mortie suddenly heard me and swam to me. I grabbed him and lifted him to a kind lady kneeling on the dock which  was pretty high out of the water. Recently I have been suffering from sciatica pain. I tried to hoist myself out once, twice.

Then I did the humiliating and disgusting swim back to shore.

The aftermath err after bath.  Neither Mortie nor I swallowed any water. We shampooed and rinsed well. Later we’ll go shopping for a new harness and leash.  I’m having a glass of wine to make sure to kill all residual germs. No regrets.

dog and me after bath

Dog gratitude can get slobbery.



Connecting with the Reader–Imagine in the Park Arts Festival


Festivals make my hair stand on end.


Fy has manuscript wings. Words of latest book face inwards.

For most authors, festivals are way outside their comfort zone largely because there is a loss of control. Weather foremost–even a tent or building may shelter you from the elements but if it’s too lovely, people may head for the beach and if it’s raining people will stay curled up in front of a screen at home.  You can only wish the screen would hold a copy of your ebook.

little girl

Some kids are a little in awe of their own creativity!

You don’t know the size of your audience or if you will have one. For children’s and young adult authors, we love the school setting where numbers of the students can be anticipated and participants will be disciplined by teachers. As a rule no drums will beat in the background nor will there be a gigantic mascot type creature walking around distracting your audience. Students will have access to your books.


Muhammed & sister Bareer. Muhammed actually likes to write! Yay!

Imagine in the Park in Hamilton Gage Park rests even further away from my cushy spot.  My fellow artists often compete for the small audience we draw with toilet bands, t-shirt painting and other crafts, balloon tieing and free books. Just for fun a horse, with a police officer on top canters through and even I want to leave to pat the stallion.

But I want to connect with my future and present (sometimes my past) reading public and I’m comfortable being uncomfortable–(I also love oxymorons).girl

This year especially I wanted to let parents and kids know about Revenge on the Fly, a piece of Hamilton history that never stood a chance against the sinking of the Titanic.  This year I spent a few hours creating black play doh–10 drops red combined with 20 drops green simmered on the stove and kneaded into the doh recipe of your choice. Picture black pot, black hands, black anything that came in contact.  I visited the reuse centre and bought three beaded necklaces to dismember into fly eyes.  The dollar store provided the thick thread for the feet. I found various sparkly report covers to cut into tear drop shaped wings.

girl holding revengeThe work was worth it!  The crowds of kids who came in and while engaged in fly-making, also listened about this odd chapter in history. We discussed the food chain and the possible offsetting of the Hamilton catch of over 1,500,000 flies (ten and a half million would have born by the end of the summer) We wrote sensory poems from the point of the view of the fly. I encouraged them all to take Revenge on the Fly out of the library.


I acted as scribe for the poetry. That way everyone could participate. Names were written in corner.

I also met a 30 something year old fan who read the third book I wrote at the beginning of my career More than Money. Also a young boy was able to read the Korean version of the novel.

Korean reader

Yes it was an exhausting day–but also exhilarating! Thanks to Sharon Levy-Cohen for all her hard work over the years to make this connection possible!