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Welcome to the DebiLyn Smith blog site. If you like what you read here, check out her website at

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

All My Bags Are Packed...I'm Ready To Go...

Thursday, May 27 is the big day! It's almost here!!I have spent the last few weeks revising and polishing and then printing piles of packages to hand to perspective agents while attending the Bloody Words Mystery Writers Conference in Toronto.There is a summary, a synopsis, a biography and sample chapters for each book. I will be sporting ten pounds of paper on my shoulder.
What to wear, what to wear? I had to unpack the sweaters and long sleeved shirts after discovering Toronto is in the midst of a heat wave. 30C! Imagine! Lucky, lucky me. Poor Torontonians who will be able to see the white glow from my legs coming from blocks away. Let's see, a dress, some clam diggers, heels, white pants, sunglasses,t-shirts...sensible walking shoes!
I have my appointments for interviews lined up, have googled the area to see where everything is and am about as ready as one could ever be. For once in my life I am not feeling sick with anxiety before something of this momentous occasion. I am filled with confidence. I am a writer, have been for years now. And my time to reach my full potential has come. I have two wonderful books that I believe will make others laugh as much as they make me laugh. I am ready for critiquing and to change whatever it takes to get them out of the drawer and into print.
But yes, okay, the cheer-up bottle of wine and bar of dark chocolate will be waiting to console me if things don't quite go as I imagine...
Thanks again everyone for all of your support and belief in what I do. Now to get someone in the biz to believe!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Perseverance Plus

I cannot believe the agonizing stories of persistance I have been getting over friends trying to sign up on this blog site as a follower!
I truly thank you all from the depths of my heart, especially if you had to spend more than the 5 minutes it should take. I don't know if it's some people's operating systems,their mail being different from the website or what?
If you're still trying, send me an e-mail and I'll try and do it for you from here!
Good luck and THANK YOU for your support.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bumbling With Computers

I drive my husband crazy! I wish in a good way, but no. There's a long list behind that statement of how I drive him mad, but the one I'm going to address is the latest. Computer Bumbling.
We can't agree on how to use a computer. Barry is one of those people that when he sees a new page on his computer screen pop up, his eyes immediately rise to the top left of the page and he begins to methodically review and read everything he sees. Left to right. Brrring! Left to right. Brrrring! Like an old style typewriter. It takes him forever to search for something.

Me? I take in the entire page at a glance and hit "delete," or "more" or "next" quickly if there isn't anything that catches my eye for what it is I am looking for. "This is a reflex age," I chastise. The same with any new electronics. Who reads manuals? Just take the thing and start pushing buttons. Something will start to work. Just do it. Nothing bad will happen! The sky will not fall!

If I'm not pushing strange buttons that I can no longer even see on my cell phone or DVD player, then I am at the computer moving the mouse back and forth rapidly when things are sluggish and the computer acts like a python trying to swallow the last half of a horse. Flick, flick, flick. I tell my husband it seems to help. Flick, flick, flick. But last week, while deleting some mail files, his entire "Barry Save" file mysteriously went missing. Long story short and $60 lighter, we got MOST of them back. Still missing is all of April and May and of course, the only files he had to have.
"That's because you flick, flick, flick," he snarls.

"You can't prove that," I counter.

While trying to get friends to sign up on this blog, I became aware of the rest of the aged computer bumblers out there. It's not just us! After asking someone under 30, their name appeared instantly on the blog list. Over 30? I have to first advise them it didn't work. They're not on there. Then I have to re-explain and then sometimes make a third attempt to help.

Eventually they always get it, but it makes me wonder? How many of us are using these computers without having even a quarter of a clue of what we're doing? It's like bumper cars. We're not sure how to steer them properly so we grip the wheel, hit the gas pedal and just start driving madly.
Maybe I don't have a bug that is moving and deleting files? Maybe that's my senility or my flicking or driving the computer all wrong.

The scary part is, just when you think you DO have something figured out, they change the game. New operating systems or upgrades to your programs that totally lose you.I just hope the entire techno thing doesn't speed up like everything else is doing these days. Never mind the days, the YEARS are zooming!

Oh well, until one of the kids come to visit and straighten me out, I'm just going to continue the bumbling. And hopefully I don't do too much more damage in the meantime!
Flick, flick, flick.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Free Long Distance Dialing

I accidentally left my sweater at the Royal Bank.

As I live out of town a bit, I decided to call and get the receptionist to hold on to it until the next day, when I would return to town and pick it up.

Houston phone numbers begin with 845- as does the Royal Bank's, but when I dialed 845-2218, I got transferred to somewhere in Winnipeg!

After two rings, an automated voice thanked me for phoning and told me how wonderful this automated service was because now I could reach someone 24/7, blah, blah, blah.

Had I reached someone yet? Not yet. The "voice" gave me a list of options, none of which included lost sweaters. I did press zero for operator. I was then told to make another choice, between personal accounts and business or agricultural account information. I wondered if I should get my client card ready as was suggested. Then the surprise. I was told this call would be recorded so now there would be proof of my senility- something a husband just waiting to commit his wife would want to hear about. Could this recording stand up in court?

This was silly. It's a 7 minute drive to the bank and I had already wasted that, plus someone had just recorded two swear words that slipped from my mouth. I hung the phone up and jumped into my car, ready to return to the bank. That's when I found my sweater behind the passenger seat.

As I returned to the house I thought, hey, I have a good friend in Winnipeg. I haven't heard from her for awhile. Now that I can phone for free, I picked up the receiver and dialed 845-2218. Eventually a real person does come on the line, and believe-it-or-not, he knew Mary Jean Radley! She was about to have her third son and he would call and let her know I was asking about her.

I phone the bank often, just to see how the weather is in Winnipeg and to check up on that new baby of Mary Jean's. Who knows, if it gets nice enough, I may go for a visit?

But until then, I'll keep checking with my local bank.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Mothers Day Tradition

My sister in Ontario has started a new Mothers Day tradition. We lost our mother to pancreatic cancer in April, 2009. A month later, our first Mothers Day without her, as you can imagine, was extremely grievous for us both.
But this year, my sister and three girlfriends who have also lost their mothers decided to hold a "Lunch With Mom" afternoon. My sister hosted the event and draped a table with our mother's market-place plates and dishes. Cut flowers, our mothers favourite, scented the air. They served their mother's pickles and recipes from their cookbooks. Adorned in their Mom's jewelry, they placed photos of their dearly departed on the side board before spending the next hours swapping favourite stories of life between mothers and daughters. There was laughter and tears. A sense of closeness through loss but at the same time, a joy for turning something so sad into something wonderful. Something to repeat again next year.
For me, I celebrated this year with my mother-in-law and her family. It's not the same, but it helps.
There will come a day when my sister's new tradition will be for me as well. Maybe the two of us will even spend it together?
Whatever you end up doing, have a Happy Mothers Day everyone.

Mother's Day Memories

I'm going to tell you the whole truth, as I know it, so that you can understand the power of my Mother's last gift to me.
While very preganant with her second child, my mother took her one-year-old son and left my father, moving from New Brunswick back to her parent's place in Ontario. I was born despite a raging snowstorm to an anxious, bewildered young woman whose husband had wronged her. She had no idea what she was going to do.
I would say that the wedge between us started from day one. I never felt connected or close to my mother and cannot remember a day I did not cause her grief. Not until I left home at age 17. That's when the letters between us began.
We continued writing and getting to know each other as women and mothers. She came west to visit, we went east to visit. The time spent together lengthened and the more we talked, the more I saw what an amazing person Dorothy Saunders really was. So different from me. Two unlike signs that grated each other's psyche and never had a chance of becoming peas in a pod. But we became true friends.
The self berating began at the first phone call. Pancreatic cancer. My Mother had four months to live. But Mom...I'm just getting to know you. I need more time. How could this happen? What had I been thinking?We were going to have a big party for your 75th birthday. That's only two more years.
Like my siblings, I raced to my mother's side, but the self whipping continued. I should have brought her out to visit us more. I should have phoned her everyday. I should have been a better daughter. I was a schmuck. I was a bottom feeder. This woman had given me life and I had given her nothing but back talk and attitude.
When my brother handed me the grocery bag filled with every card, every letter and every picture I had sent to my mother over the past 30 years, I was astounded.
"You saved all this?" She had. It was all there. And every letter told her how much I loved her. How thankful I was for her in my life. What she had given me was irrefutable proof that I had been a good daughter. That I had respeceted her and shown her my love.
So with this treasure in hand, I now face Mother's Day with a better grip on what matters most. That is celebrating the memory of my mother. Never minding how it started, but what it became and continued on to the end.
Because it was the most beautiful gift at such a crippling, sensitive time, I have started grocery bags of memories for my own children.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Blow Me Away

I'm an outdoors person. I bike and hike, fish and ski and if locked inside for too long, I begin to breathe heavy (which contrary to my husband's belief does NOT mean I'm "in the mood"!) Being a writer, I make money out of what I'm fond of calling "thin air," meaning I could do what I do anywhere in the world, but I choose to live here, in an outdoor person's paradise.

So, as a diehard enthusiast that once wished to grow old(er) here, I feel sorrow that my resolve is beginning to waver. I watch the receeding end of the vans moving our neighbors south and for the first time I feel envy and not anger at their mutiny. Can I come visit? Often?

It isn't merely that the annual summer has dwindled to two weeks. The fact that only very healthy fish can survive in our lakes without a wet suit is bearable, too. I don't mind that every second year becomes a new record in snowfall or precipitation. Or flooding. Or that the price of fuel and fresh produce is ridiculous.

No, for me it's this wind. I usually love wind. But lately I wish it had more of a physical form so I could swat at it. I am a self-professed wind-whipped whiner that wants to know, "Is the sky falling?" or are the rumours true? Have all the clear-cuts around here caused the non-stop racket coming from my wind chimes? Is it really the shrinking ozone to blame, because if it is, I would like to offer to go door-to-door demanding people stop usiong aerosols.

Or maybe this is another ice age, like the one cheery fellow felt was a possibility?

All I know is I am freezing even when the sun is out, that I've had to replace three Canadian flags in 8 months and the future that I had tied to this ground beneath my feet is slowly beginning to blow away.