Tuesday, May 26, 2009

children's safety tips 2 & 3 & 4

The second tip on the RCMP site is that parents and caregivers should always insist that very young children hold the caregiver's hand continually while walking to and from stores, play grounds, etc. Older children must remember to stay very close.
The third one is similar, in that children must not wander off, not even play hide and seek. But if the child gets lost or separated, he or she must know to tell someone "with a name tag" such as a cashier or security guard (preferably a woman).
Fourth, children should be encouraged to travel in groups, and use the buddy system. (I would warn that travelling in groups isn't always safe. Someone could go missing and not be noticed for a long time.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

children's safety tips 1

In the RCMP website (try http://www.rcmp.grc.gc.ca/ and go on looking for children's safety tips) there is a list of about 15 tips for keeping children safe. Today is, apparently, Missing Children Day, and so this list is how to keep children aware of how they might help themselves if they are in danger. On the news tonight there was an event when kids could have a booklet put together with all sorts of personal information, such as blood type, finger prints, a lock of hair, etc., to help police if necessary. Parents are advised to carry this "passport" everywhere, even when travelling. I'd think it might be a good idea to have a second copy of it in a safety deposit box.
The first tip for the children is that they should all know by heart their full name, address, telephone number, and their parents' places of work and contact numbers. I was rather alarmed a year or two ago when I found that my youngest grandson did not know his own address. I'm sure he didn't know contact numbers or work places, but I didn't ask, so I could be wrong. And this is only tip number one!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

my next novel?

MXME: A year ago November, a publisher who shall remain nameless was sitting opposite me in a restaurant. A group of us were chatting over lunch. I was relating a story about my childhood and how it came about that my family moved to England in December 1948. The publisher said he thought that was a good story. He repeated this to me several times, and finally said, “Do you hear me? I said that is a good story.” I responded, “When a publisher says to a writer, ‘That is a good story,’ I assure you that the writer hears that.” I promised to write the story and send it to him.
Well, I’m a slow writer, but the following October, I had enough of it written to take it to him at a writer’s conference. (I had an appointment with him for that purpose.) Instead of looking at the manuscript I had brought, he SOLD me another book and said he wanted me to read it and take his course. I was annoyed that he hadn’t even had the courtesy to look at what I had brought to the appointment, and more annoyed that he sold me a book I didn’t want, and still more annoyed that he wanted me to take his course. He knows nothing about me, my education, or my background. I’ve taken many writing courses—night school, correspondence, etc. The best courses were the two I took from the Institute of Children’s Literature (see link on this page). I continue to read about writing and to attend conferences and workshops to keep learning, but I balk at being badgered into taking one specific course in order for a certain publisher to see one manuscript. I’m sure that if I were to sell the book to that publisher, he would get far more out of me than I would get for the sale of the book. I’ll write the book, because I agree with him that it is a good story, but he’s last on the list of publishers who’ll get to see it.

birds and bees

Last week I went birding again. This time in Penticton with my daughter. It was the Meadowlark Festival. We had two birding mornings, first at Max Lake and then the next morning at Marron Valley. Other than a battle I nearly lost with a clay cliff that required climbing, the two events were great. Even the sighting of a young bear at Max Lake. Good thing we didn't bump into his mother! We capped the events with a relaxing cruise on Okanagan Lake. Spending time with my daughter Catherine and Bill, then with my son Steve and Monika and their children was a very happy way to spend a weekend. At the same time, I gave my hubby a few days on his own. :)
I returned home on the Sunday evening. I should have spent Tuesday morning at kindergarten. But unfortunately, the teacher is ill and is on health leave until next September. So, praying for her recovery, I hope I'll be back again next term.
On Wednesday morning, it was UBC farm with the grade five children. This week the lesson was about pollination, and we spent some time with the bees.

Rivendell Retreat

Retreat at Rivendell, arriving Thursday, May 21, 2009 (Ascension Day), Friday, May 22 (Derek’s 4th anniversary, leaving Saturday, May 23rd. Focus for Day 1: psalms; focus for Day 2: discernment; focus for Day 3: Gospel of John, chapters 13, 14, 15 & 16, to be continued for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday (May 24, 25, 26 & 27). May 28 & 29 to be devoted to reading the Book of Acts 2:1-11, as concerning Pentecost.
Hopefully, we can make this May Retreat an annual event for us. In fact, we signed up for three nights in May 2010.
The retreat was very restful and comforting in a few odd ways. First, when we woke up on the Friday morning, I put on some music (on my computer) hoping for an uplifting hymn. Instead, by random selection, we got "Nearer My God to Thee"--the hymn traditionally linked with the men on the Titanic singing it as they went down to their deaths in the ocean. It was a stark reminder that May 22nd was the anniversary of Derek's death by drowning. I lost the battle with tears. We listened to that hymn, and then I turned off the music and we said our morning prayers. The day passed in prayer, meditation (at a labyrinth) and reading. At 5pm the bell summoned us to the prayer room. The readings (listed above) included Psalm 139, the psalm read to my son, Frank just before he died. (Derek's dad.) Although these reminders of our grief were unexpected, they were also blessings. We had deliberately selected this weekend because it coincided with Derek's anniversary, but we had not expected the music and readings to occur so serendipitously.

Monday, May 11, 2009

scbwi spring event 2009

Ken is doing a great job as the new Regional Advisor for SCBWI/Western Canada. I have to pat myself on the back for choosing him, and thank him for taking on the job. Saturday last, he put on a really terrific convention. Our previous events have always been only from 10am until 3pm, cost about $30, and had a couple of speakers. This one was from 9am till 5pm, had 5 speakers and cost about $75. Soon, maybe we can bump it up to 3 days and more speakers. He also has other events downtown that I haven't seen but hear they're really good, as well as the monthly critique groups at his home. Wow! Great work, Ken!
I did get to the Saturday event and found it very helpful. The editors who were speakers there were Kalley George of Simply Read Books, Crystal Stronoghan of Gumboot Books, David Stephens of Tradewind Books, Alison Acheson of Coteau Books and an instructor at UBC teaching writing of children's literature, I believe, and Jared Hunt of Gumboot Books. Each speaker covered a specific area. While the talks were going on, these editors also did one-on-one critiquing with participants who had submitted work in advance. Unfortunately I wasn't well enough organized to take advantage of this service. Next time!

keeping out of mischief

I don't know why I'm so busy. At least, why I can't get to the blog more often. I knew when I started this that it would certainly not be a daily thing. But twice a month is not quite good enough. Weekly would be all right, IMHO.
So what have I been doing this month. Well, the kindergarten teacher hasn't been well, so I haven't been to kindergarten for a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I'll be there tomorrow morning. I miss those little folk.
I did get to the UBC farm last Wednesday, though, and that's every two weeks now. We learned how to make compost tea. A most unappetizing brew, indeed. Then, watching the youtube video from the City Farm on how to start a compost, I learned a fourth way to make compost tea. I also learned that we haven't been composting exactly right. So, we may have to start over if this lot isn't cooking properly. I haven't put in enough paper. Didn't put in any sand at all. And maybe been adding too much in the way of food stuff and coffee grounds. Okay. If at first we don't succeed, we're like most other people--or at least we should read the directions.

Friday, May 1, 2009


The National Novel Writing Month isn't until November (1st to midnight of the 30th), but I signed up yesterday. That made me the 1008th member in Vancouver. Other than committing to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November, I'm not sure if there are other expectations. I know they also have a TGIO party, probably in December. TGIO stands for "Thank God It's Over", as apparently writing about 2000 words a day is a bigger challenge than it sounds. I signed up because I like a challenge. Also, it seems that it's a good exercise in getting writing DOWN, and I might learn something from this. It's writing, and that's what counts.