Tuesday, December 28, 2010

writing the play

I've been working on this play one way or another since the beginning of April this year.  Thought I'd finished in August when it was given a dramatic reading at the Franciscan convocation, and then produced and performed at the Vacation Bible School at St. James Anglican Church at the end of August.  But, to get it ready to go to a publisher, the pages have to be just so--and that's different from an ordinary manuscript.  The headings have to be just so.  And that means I've had to learn how to divide my ms into sections.  Okay.  Did that. But microsoft promises that it is possible to have different headers for each section.  And I need to do that so that the whole play isn't labelled "ACT I scene 1" and paginated from page one all the way to page 79.  I need to have some pages labelled ACT II, and III, and IV, and have scenes labelled appropriately within each act.  One publisher likes to have all the pages 1 through 79; another publisher wants each act to be paginated individually.  If I ever learn how to change the acts/scenes, that will be good, but I'll never be able to paginate 1 to 79 if I do that.  grrrr.  Writing the play was the easy part!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Silent Night

Here's a rendition of this carol that you've never heard or seen before.  It takes about 10 minutes, but is worth every second. Silent Night
Relax and think about what Christmas is really all about.  Peace and Joy to you and your loved ones, wherever you and they are.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa rant

Last year, I think I wrote something here about how I feel about the evil old elf who usurps the place of Jesus at Christmas time.  Well, in case you missed it, here it is again in another form:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Category #1 Faith & Franciscans

The third part of my Rule of Life is "Penitence".  Anglicans generally say about "Confession" that all may, some should but none must.  It has been said in the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis in the Province of the Americas, that all must, at least once a year.  More recent examination of the Rule is that once a year is recommended.  A bit different from MUST.  Anyway, I equate Confession (or Reconciliation, as some prefer to call it these days) with peace.  This is a time when a penitent (someone who recognizes the "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves") can go to see a priest, or other trustworthy person, and tell all. With a Rule of Life, it's not such a general topic as "all" because the Franciscan life is in the 9 categories of one's Rule.  So, with my little iPhone in hand, with my Rule headings on the "Messages" page, with notations beside the ones needing attention, I went to confession at Christ Church Cathedral on Wednesday afternoon.  I missed having the beautiful little confessionals of St. James, but the priest (just ordained last Sunday) and I sat opposite each other in the children's room.  We said the opening prayers of the short reconciliation service in the Book of Alternative Services, and I went through my list, complete with rants where they cropped up.  The priest listened and nodded, and finally made his observations.  Then he pronounced absolution and we said the closing prayers.  And I erased the page of messages from my iPhone.  Whew!  It feels so good!  If you have never tried it, I recommend it.  You don't have to (none must) but maybe you'll find it comforting if you have grudges or pebbles in your shoes regarding your religious life or other issues.  Peace!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

updating my writing life

I'm procrastinating again.  I should be working on that play, The Wolf and the Saint, so that I can send it to the people who asked for it MONTHS ago!  The problem is that when I wrote it, and with each rewrite, etc., I kept each scene in a separate file.  Then, I think I probably moved each of the three scenes per act into one file per act.  Now, I want to put the whole thing into one file, so that when I email it to people they don't have to download twelve files--or even just four files.  It could all be in one click.  But, of course, everytime I see one of the scenes, I tweak it a bit.  And as I move each newly tweaked scene into the correct act file, and then move the completed act file into the whole play file, I'm thoroughly spent!  So, I do a little at a time, otherwise I'd make humungous errors that would likely go uncorrected.  That could really mess up the works.  Also, once I've got it all in one file, then I have to go through it and put it in sections so that the headings will correctly identify the acts, scenes and pages.  This is not easy, folks!
Meanwhile, I'm still trying to keep up with publishing something in Suite 101 at least once a week.  And I've started with Squidoo.com.  Still learning what this web presence is all about.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Category II tag a: Travel

Today is the second Sunday in Advent: lighting the candle for John the Baptist.  This makes me think of our visit to Israel, and to our brief stop at the River Jordan.  It was in some ways, nothing like what I expected, yet in other ways what I hoped it might look like.  I rather expected a huge church over the spot where Jesus was baptized, and the river mostly obscured by religious stuff.  I had hoped it might not be like that.  And I was not disappointed.  There is a song that says "The River Jordan is chilly and wide" or words to that effect.  Well, it might be chilly.  It was February, and I saw a shell in the water and reached in and took it as a souvenir.  The water was a bit chilly.  I wouldn't have wanted to swim in it, or be baptized in it, for that matter.  But it was, after all, February.  Wide, though, it is not.  Not where we were, anyway.  As for big churches, there may be one a few yards down river from where we were, on the Jordan side.  We were on the Israeli side (or maybe it was Palestinian, I don't remember), but we were on the west bank of the Jordan.  This site didn't claim to be the exact spot of Christ's baptism, but for us it was close enough. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

suite 101 again

This is the article I published today: http://www.suite101.com/content/a-memorable-christmas-brunch-a314003 .  Hope you enjoy it.

What categories?

The category idea didn't last long.  But I still think it's a good one, it's just that I'm not that organized, I guess.  However, I remember that category 1 had to do with my Rule of Life, and I think I wrote something about the Eucharist--or I was going to.  Today I thought I'd write about that, even if I had written on the subject before.  For Franciscans, the Eucharist is the heart of our prayer life.  Today, at our Franciscan fellowship meeting, I was reminded of some visitors we had a few months ago.  They were here from North Carolina.  The wife, Amy, is Franciscan but her husband isn't.  Nevertheless, the two were together every time we saw them.  We saw them exactly three times during their visit.  On the first day, they came to St. Thomas Church to meet us.  It's a small Anglican church, and we had Eucharist in the Lady Chapel at the side altar.  After that, we went to lunch at the home of one of the parishioners. The second time we met it was at our home.  The Fellowship meeting was being held there, and, as we always do, we celebrated the Eucharist again. After that, Amy and her hubby and I and mine went to lunch in a restaurant.  The third and last time we saw these new friends (whom we had never met before the morning at St. Thomas) they worshipped with us at Christ Church Cathedral.  Eucharist again.  It occurred to me that these visitors to Vancouver had a very good view of how we Vancouverites celebrate Communion--in small churches, in private homes and in big cathedrals.  If it seems excessive to you that we celebrate the Lord's Supper so often, just think of it this way: Don't you like to spend as much time as you can with someone you love?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

suite 101

I'm still writing articles and publishing them on Suite 101.  I've earned almost $4 so far.  Don't scoff.  This is apparently par for the course, with only 14 articles up and about 700 or so page views.  Things don't get profitable until you have about 50 articles and over 1000 PVs. But, for those of you who are interested, I'll post the link to my current article (published today), and you can seek out the other articles by clicking on my name at the top of the article.  That will take you to my profile, and there you'll find a list of all fourteen of my articles.  So, click away and I hope you'll enjoy them. http://www.suite101.com/content/a-bethlehem-pilgrimage-a311463
This article, by the way, has pictures of my visit to Bethlehem, one of which you've already seen in this blog.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some News is Bad/Good News

The bad news is that Lorimer rejected my historical novel, Angels in the Flames.  First off, it's news because I had been told that Lorimer would respond only to accept a book, so I had just assumed that they were not interested and I should not expect to hear from them.  A long time had passed.  So, the good news is that they did indeed respond, even after all this time.  It's also not all bad news because, despite the rejection, the editor that while the novel did not fit their current needs, she "very much enjoyed (your) work".  Also, she encouraged me to look at their current editorial guidelines on their website, http://www.lorimer.ca/, for details on their current series.  They want contemporary young adult fiction that addresses "tough issues faced by real Canadian teens."  I have some stories floating around in my head and partially written, so I should get on with it.  I had planned to write a novel for Delacorte's competition.  As the work went on, I realized there's not much chance of having it done by the December 31st deadline.  However, it seems that Lorimer wants something similar to what I was working on, so that's a good start.  If I don't get it to Delacorte by the New Year, I'll keep at it and send it to Lorimer as soon as possible.  If they don't want it, it can go to Delacorte next year.  Meanwhile, Angels in the Flames is still at Coteau.  I hope they, too, will enjoy reading it.  But that they will also publish it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

music at the cathedral

Taking a day off from the category thing.  (I just wrote a long entry and suddenly the computer bumped me off and the whole thing got lost.  I think.  So if this comes up twice, it's because I've had to write it twice.)  Anyway, as I was saying before I got bumped:  We started attending Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver on the first Sunday in September.  One of the most remarkable features I loved about the place was the wonderful music.  Each week I thought, "This is as good as it gets.  They could never top today's music."  Yet each week, it seems to get better and better.  Today, the music was by the Vancouver Children's Choir and the Women of the Cathedral Choir.  There was so much I could comment on, but the most amazing piece was by a boy soprano (who reached top notes effortlessly, like a chiming bell), singing "Pie Jesu" from Requiem by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber.  During the Eucharist, the children sang "In Flanders Fields".  It was in no way like a concert.  The children were heard but not seen, up in the choir loft behind the congregation, with the organ.  The women's voices came from the chancel behind the free standing altar.  Surely, they'll never top this!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Category # 4 Fact & Fiction

Back to the story outline for Angels in the Flames:  We left Grace leaping from the safety of the rescuing canoe, and in the waters of Burrard Inlet with the goal of finding her brother in the burning city.  I'll leave the historical facts of the city for the category of "Fire & Floods", where it will be posted eventually.  Here, the story continues with Grace wading with difficulty to the shore.  Her brother is nowhere in sight, however her neighbour, May, the little Chinese girl Grace had been charged with taking to Sunday School, is on the shore crying for her mother.  When Grace reaches the shore, May clings to her, crying.  Grace has pity on the younger girl and decides that they should go together to find their mothers, as her brother Eddie is not there.  She hopes he has been taken in one of the canoes, or maybe he too will be looking for their mother.  Their father, a volunteer fireman, will no doubt be busy doing his duty.  So, now we leave Grace again as she heads through the hot cinders and blowing ashes up the hill with a little girl holding her hand.  The book alternates chapters between Grace's point of view, and her brother Eddie's.  So, next time I should tell something about what Eddie is up to in this crisis.

Friday, November 12, 2010

category #3 Fire & Flood

I'm still catching on to these category things, so I'm giving each entry a "category" number and trying to remember what that means. Today's category means I'm supposed to give some of the background related to my research for novels, articles, etc. 
Today, however, I'm going to cheat again.  Instead of starting with the Vancouver fire of 1886, which is the setting for my juvenile historical novel, I'm going to mention an idea I've had for many years.  It relates to the last subheading for this category, first aid.
Several years ago, I took an industrial first aid course, and renewed my certificate the following year but have done nothing with it since then.  Actually, I'm very squeamish, and hope with all my heart that I never have to use the things I learned in those two courses.  I am, however, really glad I have that know-how and wish just as fervently that everyone had it.  My idea is, that if I were queen of the world, everyone would have first aid classes in school from kindergarten through grade twelve.  Start with the simple stuff, of course, but by the time high schoolers were ready to graduate they'd be "almost-a-doctor".  I think I heard, once upon a time, that there is an international competition for professional first aiders.  Something like an Olympiad of first responders.  I'd like to write the text books for some of these dream-courses, especially for the little kids.  I'll leave it to professionals to write the top levels.  And it's always changing--for example the new technique for giving CPR, which is better than the method I learned.  Except, the old way is the right way (still) for infants, children, and drowning victims.  Watch this category for more of this as I get into it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

category #2 travel

In category 2, the topic is Family & Friends.  The subheadings are travel, kids' activities, and school visits/volunteering.  I'm tempted to repeat "kids' activities" today, as I did last time I wrote in this category, but I'll resist.  The reason I want to write about that is that I've just finished "publishing" a book review of Compost Stew, by Mary McKenna Siddals in suite 101.  Instead, though, I'll stick to the idea of not overdoing any one topic by moving on to "Travel". 
Maybe this is the time to return to my blogs about my trip to Israel.  In a couple of weeks, we'll be into Advent, the time to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  We aren't quite there yet, so I don't want to steal all the Advent material in this advent to Advent.  Anyway, I'll just point out that one of the first places we visited, right after Hebron, was Bethlehem.  It is a sad place, surrounded by big ugly walls, isolating the Palestinians from the rest of Israel.  We even had to show our passports to go from Israel to Palestine.  I'll post the pictures of the wall here, and save the religious pictures of Bethlehem for later.

category #1 b

Back to category #1, Faith & Franciscans, and tab b is, I guess, the second part of my Rule of Life, personal prayer.  (Don't worry about the categories and tabs; it's just a way I'm trying out to keep from blogging the same stuff all the time, and yet having some sort of continuity.)  Anyway, about personal prayer--obviously, it's personal.  But, it has some elements that must (according to the Franciscans) be included.  For one thing, every day I must say the daily office--either Morning Prayer (aka "Matins") or Evening Prayer (aka "Evensong").  Also, my personal prayers must include intercessions (praying for other people, especially those who have asked for my prayers) and meditation.  I'm okay with all of this, except meditation.  I really have trouble sitting quietly just "meditating".  I begin to think of other things.  Like, how I could be writing an article for suite 101 now.  Or I should be revising my novel to get it ready to send to that contest by December 31st, or I wonder if the mail has arrived yet.  I have trouble meditating.  So, I try to say the Rosary at least once a week.  The Rosary takes me 20 minutes.  That's all.  Really, why do I have so much trouble finding 20 minutes a week to meditate on the Rosary?  So, personal prayer has its challenges, too.  For me, at least.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Major category #4 and a tag

This is "Fact & Fiction", actually about my writing.  With these blog entries I hope to remind myself of what I'm writing.  Sometimes there are so many ideas floating around in my head that they tend to attach themselves where they don't belong.  Spin-offs?  Anyway, today's blog is under the heading of tag "a", which is story outlines.  So, what is the story in Angels in the Flames
It starts out with Grace Andrews in the kitchen, preparing breakfast.  The day is Sunday, June 13, 1886, and Grace is only eleven years old.  However she has her chores, and so does her younger brother, Eddie.  He hasn't done his job (filling the wood box for the stove) so Grace has to leave her post at the stove.  The grease in the bacon pan catches fire, and Grace screams for help.  We meet her family over breakfast, then go with her to Sunday School.  Eddie runs off rather than stick with his sister and the little girl, May, whom Grace is obliged to take with them. 
They no sooner arrive at church when suddenly there is panic in the streets.  A fire is fast approaching, roaring down the street like a train.  Everyone runs for the waterfront to escape.  Grace is scooped into a canoe and on her way to safety.  But, unable to see her brother, she jumps from the canoe and heads back to the burning city.  (to be continued)

Major category #3 and a tag

Today I was supposed to blog about something in category #3.  That's floods and fires, I think.  I intended that this blog should indicate my research and background information that I did for my middle grade historical novel, Angels in the Flames.  At some point I'll dig all that stuff out.  I know I spent many hours in the special collections of the Vancouver Public Library and at the Vancouver Archives and at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.  (That last one was to research the "ship that saved Vancouver", the Robert Bell.)  For the fire, though, it was mostly in the special collections section that I read folders and folders of articles, watched reems and reems of microfiche films as well as read every book I could find on the subject of the Vancouver Fire of June 13, 1886.  My novel is set in Vancouver on that day.  I even interviewed a Squamish woman whose grandmother was one of the Natives who paddled across Burrard Inlet to rescue some of the people wading into the water to escape the flames.  The Squamish people have a song to commemorate that day. 

facebook page

Here's the link to  my facebook page . I don't really know what I'm doing with it yet, so be kind when you go there.  I hope you'll "like" it!! Even if there isn't really anything there to like or dislike.  Unlike??

Monday, November 8, 2010

Category # 2 Friends & Families

Today I'll start with tag "b", kids' activities.  It sort of overlaps a bit with tag "c", volunteering with kids sometimes, but not today.  How about a simple recipe?  This one is for after Halloween:  Pumpkin Soup. 
One child with the help of one adult can do most of the preparation, but if there are 2 or 3 children, the tasks can be divided among them.
Take a pumpkin that had the face painted on, not carved--or the contents of a jack-o-lantern that was scooped out before the candle went in.  Either way, you need fresh pumpkin flesh.  The adult gets it started:  Cook the pumpkin.  If it's still in its shell, an adult can cut off the top and scoop out all the seeds, and bake it in the oven at 375 degrees (fahrenheit) for between 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the pumpkin. The child (or Kid #1) can plop the pulp into a big pot, about 2 cups of pulp.  Then, Kid #2 should add 3 cups of milk, about a quarter teaspoonful each of ginger and cinnamon, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar (or 2 tablespoons of white sugar), and 2 tablespoons of butter.  Kid #3 uses a potato masher to mush it all together.  The adult has to supervise the cooking of the soup, because it should just be brought to the boil and not actually boil.  Kids can take turns stirring, though.  Big kids, with adult supervision, can pull out stray seeds or stringy pulp using a big spoon.  You can serve it right away, or put it in the fridge and heat it in the microwave later.  It'll smell like pumpkin pie, and taste a bit like it too.  (If you don't have fresh pumpkin, you can use canned pumpkin without having to do any cooking before you heat up the soup.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

category #1 Faith & Franciscans

It's Sunday evening, and it seems appropriate to start this new style of blogging with category #1, tag "a".  As that would be the first part of my Rule, then it's Eucharist.  Today I did something quite unAnglican: I took communion twice.  I guess it's all right, though, because it was two different communities.  An Anglican priest once told me that it was okay as long as the two communities were distinct.  So, this morning it was with the regular congregation of the Cathedral, my new parish.  Then this afternoon, although it was again in the Cathedral, and many of the people were the same as in the morning, most of the people were from other parishes.  It was an induction ceremony for the Order of New Westminster, a new honour that the Anglican Church in this diocese can bestow on extraordinary people who have given outstanding service to the Church and Community.  Several of the honorees were in their nineties!  I knew about half a dozen of them, out of a total of 45 people. 
Some of you will remember that I left my previous parish at the end of August for very painful reasons.  Now I have to say that the Cathedral is the best possible cushion to land on.  The services are all beautiful, the music is uplifting, the surroundings are bright and cheerful, and the people are very welcoming and friendly.  It doesn't get any better than this.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Category #4 and its tags

Category 4 "Fact & Fiction" is more about my writing.  Tags include: a) story outlines; b) character back-stories; c) settings; d) biographies; e) history and geography; f) bibliographies & other references; g) markets; h) book reviews.  This could even be two categories, with f, g & h being tags in the fifth category.

Major category #2 & 3 and their tags

Category #2 is Family & Friends.  The tags would include a) travel, languages & culture notes; b) Kids' activities: observation, growing things, cooking; c) school visits & volunteering with kids. 
Category #3 is Fire and Flood:  This would be research notes about the Vancouver fire, also London 1666 and Chicago whenever, and California every year; & forest fires; also floods like Noah's Ark, Nile Delta, other floods both good and bad; d) other natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsumamis, volcanoes, etc.  and e) First Aid; Red Cross/Crescent; St. John's Ambulance, etc.

Major category #1 and its tags

At the web presence workshop on Thursday night, we worked on categories and tags.  I thought I'd work on four categories and give each one some tags.  I'm not entirely sure what that is supposed to look like on a blog, and blogging was the topic of this part of the workshop.  I may need a whole new blog to do this right.  For now, I'll just make notes as I usually do.  I can straighten it all up later.  Something like the way I do (or don't do) housework!
Okay:  Category #1 = Faith & Franciscans; tags would follow my Franciscan Rule of Life, most likely.  There are 9 headings in the Rule: Eucharist, Personal Prayer, Penitence, Retreat, Simplicity, Self-denial, Work, Study & Obedience.  If I blog in one section of one category each day, it should work out that I'm not always blogging on the same topic.  It's supposed to be a fifteen-minute effort per day.  We'll see.  For now, I'll add what the other categories are, and suggest what tags there might be in each.


I've tried.  I know I have an account because people are "following" me on twitter.  But I can't get in.  I have no idea what this thing is for.  Lots of people use it, so I guess it must have some value, but whatever value it has eludes me altogether. I guess I just won't tweet.

New Facebook Page

I've just started a facebook page, and I'm afraid it'll be lost in space forever if I don't record for myself the URL that connects me with it.  I never go on "regular" facebook unless I get an email saying someone has posted something.  I just don't think about it much.  This page, however, is about my writing, and I'll have to maintain it more professionally.  So, here's the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Diane-CB-Jones/104536816283964 
Check it out.  A "like" click would be appreciated, too. :) 
Any suggestios as to what should be added? 

Friday, November 5, 2010

web presence workshop

Last night I attended a workshop on developing a web presence.  When I started this blog a year or two back, I had the idea that this would be a good step towards that.  Well, maybe it was a baby-step.  I knew I didn't dare attempt a web page.  I'd done that a few times years ago, but they were never very great.  So, here is what I learned last night:
I'm on the right track with a blog, but I could be doing this a lot better than I am.  No surprise there.  I just might start another blog and set it up properly, although that might not be necessary.  I'm going to practise here. 
One of the things I'm doing right is writing for suite 101.  So far, I've heard nothing bad about that site.  Some writers complain that the money is slow coming in, but I never saw it as get rich quick.  I don't believe in get rich quick.  Suite 101 is a slow growing garden that will yield results in proportion to the effort, patience and perseverence a person puts into it. 
Facebook is another thing that is useful, but I'm not sure that I'm using that to the best advantage either.  "Shameless self promotion" doesn't come easily to Franciscans who are sworn to humility!  A bit of a conflict here, eh?  Anyway, similar to Facebook is Twitter.  I apparently have an account with Twitter.  I know that because some people have emailed me that they're following me on Twitter.  Hmm.  Must be hard to do that, and really boring, because I don't even know how to get started there, never mind be leading some sort of parade.
The workshop has a followup coming soon--maybe in January.  I'll have to go to that.  We've got homework!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

writing hits and misses

The short story deadline has passed, and it never got written much less submitted.  I did a fair amount of research for it, but every time I started and restarted the story, it always came out more of the beginning of a novel with no place to go (plot-wise, that is).  Just as well I've abandoned it.  Maybe I can use some of the research one of these days.  Hate to waste it altogether. 
I've decided not to do nanowrimo this year.  It was fun last year, but "been there, done that" now, so I'll move on.  After all, I did accomplish the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  What I want to do now is rework that same novel into a YA novel and maybe, if it's done in time, send it to Delacorte for the YA contest.  That's due by December 31st.  We'll see if I can rewrite the novel in 60 days (minus almost a week, as it's already Nov. 4th). 
I'm still doing suite 101 articles.  I've got 9 published there, and have several more in mind--some more on language learning of course, and a couple of book reviews.  I can see this is an endless project, and that's a very good thing.
If I haven't heard from Coteau Books by the end of January, I'll email them to say that the historical juvenile novel will no longer be theirs exclusively.  Then I can send it on to someone else.  The only way it'll ever get published is if I keep it going.
This evening I'm going to a workshop to learn about internet presence for writers--websites, etc.  So far, my only internet presence is this blog and my suite 101 articles.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

catching up

Hubby returned safely from his attendance at Third Order Chapter meeting in New York.  I don't think he saw anything of New York City, though.  Nevertheless, I think it was a good experience.  I survived being on my own!  (Actually, I rather like being alone most of the time--traveling alone especially.  I just don't like being HOME alone!) 
Our new parish home, Christ Church Cathedral, is the most welcoming place you could imagine.  Last Sunday there was a welcoming ceremony, including presenting us with gifts!  Then we had lunch at the Dean's home.  Today, there was free lunch for everyone served to all in the chancel or just in our pews.  The reason was to soften the stewardship launch, I guess.  Lunch, btw, was sandwiches & veggies & something sweet (I missed that, and my waistline is happy about that) and some punch.  For kids there was cheese pizza. 
As for writing, I've been working on a few things.  I still haven't mailed off the play to those who asked for it.  By the time they receive it, they'll be wondering why they got it!  Better take care of that asap.  Also working on a short story, but it keeps getting too long.  It's a skill I have yet to master.  Rather like packing for a trip.  I never learned how to travel light!  And, I'm still writing articles for Suite 101.  I have eight articles up now.  Check them out!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

little portion friary

This is where my husband is spending these few days: http://www.littleportionfriary.net/ .  I envy him the labyrinth!  I'm so glad he's able to have this beautiful experience, since we had to cancel our trip to Assisi earlier this year.  I hope this sort of makes up for it. If you follow the link, be sure to watch the youtube video about the blessing of the animals on St. Francis Day.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Feeling a little lonely these days.  My hubby has gone to a Franciscan meeting in New York and I'm left at home.  On one hand, it's nice to have some free time that I can structure the way I want, on the other hand I keep waiting for him to call me to do something or go somewhere.  My sons are around, but they have their own schedules.  That's okay.  I'm writing and that's what counts.  I added my fifth suite 101 article today.  This time's it's in a different section.  It's about Halloween at home.  Not language this time.  I'll save language for my Monday submissions and do other things the rest of the time. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

a day late

I had hoped that Mondays would be my suite101 day--publishing day, that is.  I spent most of the day doing everything but writing (not all my fault, but still...).  So today I finally got with it and wrote my fourth article for the site.  Again about learning languages, this time using textbooks, the article can be found at http://www.suite101.com/ .  I've also been looking into a course on digital storytelling.  I have no idea what that's all about, but any kind of storytelling has to be helpful to a writer.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

UBC Farm Friends

The farm has started up again for those of us in the Intergenerational Landed Learning at the UBC Farm Project of Education.  (Verbosity isn't always a mark of clarity, unfortunately.)  Anyway, I'm now in the Thursday group because my Wednesday mornings are spent at St. Thomas Church for my midweek Eucharist.  So, we started a couple of weeks ago with an orientation.  The Thursday group differs from the Wednesday group in that these children have been at the farm before--it's their second or third year.  It's just my third year, so they're at least as familiar with the place as I am.  I'm sure they know a lot more than I do, so, I'll be learning from them.  Today was our first meeting with the children.  My adult partner is a young woman, 20 years old, from Taiwan.  The two of us are the "farm friends" of four children, 2 boys and 2 girls.  They are all in grade 5 except one girl who is in grade 6.  The boys are very exuberant and the girls are very quiet.  Different learning styles altogether.  Of course because today was the first day back, the boys may be more excitable than usual, however I've been warned that at least one of them likes to wander off but will always come back and do what is required of him.  This teacher uses the Montessori Method.  I am vaguely familiar with Montessori for preschoolers, but this is my first encounter with it for higher grades.  Fascinating!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

suite 101 again

I've got three articles on suite 101 now.  It isn't surprising that my articles are all on language learning--and then next several will be, too.  After all, my undergraduate degree is in linguistics, and I've studied all manner of languages (French, Russian, Spanish, Esperanto, Greek & Hebrew--oh, and German and Italian.  And Ukrainian.  A little bit of Cantonese.  Latin, a bit.  Welsh, less than that.  Anyway, you get the idea.)  And after 30 years plus of teaching English as a Second Language, even tutoring still, I have a pretty good grasp of how to learn languages.  So, do check out http://www.suite101.com/ and look for my name.  You'll find all three articles, and maybe any new ones I get a chance to write in the next little while.  If you like to write articles, and you have some pet subjects, give it a try. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

writing contest

I'm working on an entry myself, but ICL is encouraging folks to spread the word about this historical fiction children's short story contest.  Check it out.  Try it.  And good luck!  I hope I'll get my entry in, too.  Here's the link:  http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/ad192/ .  Hope it works for you.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Guide to Literary Agents blog

One of the blogs I follow is the Guide to Literary Agents.  There's always something of interest there.  One frequent blogger there is a guy named Chuck.  A week ago he wrote 18 Easy Steps to Becoming a Writer.  It came up again in the Writer's Digest emailing on Sept. 14th.  One way or another, you really ought to go and read that.  It is SO true.  Go on.  You won't be disappointed.  :))

Saturday, September 18, 2010

from my e-mail

--- On Sat, 9/18/10, Kari-Lynn wrote
Date: Saturday, September 18, 2010, 5:19 AM
I just wanted to share an event that is happening at the end of the month.
As some of you know, I am an advocate for literacy and for helping others gain access to books.
Perhaps if this event goes smoothly we can help other impoverished schools all over the world, including those schools in Canada that need our support.
Please help us by posting this press release on your blog.
Thanks so much.

Access Books and Airlift to LA
All children should have the opportunity to learn to read!
Please help us spread the word pass and give impoverished families access to books by posting this press release on your blog.
Los Angeles – As part of their ongoing commitment to strengthen inner-city school libraries throughout Los Angeles and beyond, Access Books has joined forces with a team of Canadian authors to help impoverished families gain access to books. The event will take place at Ralph Bunche Elementary (16223 Haskins Lane, Carson, CA 90746-1092) on October 2, 2010 at 9 a.m. This school is one of 25 elementary schools in the Compton Unified School District (CUSD) that is in desperate need of books for its 450 students.

Access Books, "Air Lift to L.A." and a team of volunteers from Bunche will spend October 2nd revitalizing the library by painting murals and cataloging brand new books. In addition to the books, Access Books will provide a reading rug, rocking chair and sofa to create a warm and inviting environment for students. Five authors from Canada will be on hand for the event and to give fun and exciting presentations to the students.
The participating authors are:
Rob Weston, author of Silver Birch award winner Zorgamazoo
Kari-Lynn Winters, author Jeffrey and the Sloth, On My Walk, and other award-winning books.
Jill Murray, YA author of Rhythm and Blues and Break on Through
Wendy Kitts, Freelance Writer, Book Reviewer, and author of a soon-to-be published picture book from Nimbus Press
Helaine Becker, author of more than 40 books for children including Silver Birch award winners Boredom Blasters and Secret Agent Y.O.U.

Sadly, only 48 percent of Bunche's students are scoring "proficient" or "advanced" in English & Language Arts on the California Standards Test. Research has shown that the best predictor of how well a child will learn to read is the number of books to which he or she has access, but 61 percent of economically disadvantaged children don't have age-appropriate books at home. The students of Bunche Elementary fit this profile: 90 percent live at or below the poverty line. According to a 2009 report from the Jumpstart Foundation, communities ranking high in achievement tests share a common denominator: an abundance of books in their libraries.
California's Department of Education recommends 28 library books per student, according to the February 2010 draft of its School Library Standards. Bunche, however, has a mere three books per student. Therefore, Access Books has set a goal: Collect at least 5,000 books for Bunche's library and classrooms. Many of these will be brand new, popular fiction titles – books that have been carefully selected to get students excited about reading.
Access Books' partner for this endeavor, "Air Lift to L.A.," grew wings after Canadian children's author Helaine Becker visited a Long Beach elementary school and saw the empty shelves. Shocked and saddened, she rallied her Canadian colleagues and started a book drive. "The conditions [in Los Angeles] are on par with the worst of the Third World countries," she writes on the "Air Lift to L.A." Facebook page. "Actually, they are worse, because in much of the Third World, people are doing their best to raise their standards, while in Los Angeles, conditions have deteriorated abysmally in the last ten years."
Bunche has just moved its campus library into a new, larger space to afford room for growth, but unfortunately, many of the shelves are bare. The library assistant nicknamed the library "The Dream Shop," but with so few books, its dreams have yet to be realized.
California ranks last in the nation in funding for school libraries, spending less than one dollar per child. Although the 2011 federal budget proposal includes a $400 billion investment in education, there's no mention of federal funds specifically geared toward school libraries. According to Sandra Barnett, head of the American School Library Association, "the budget is proposing to take away the last access to literacy for these kids in high-poverty areas." The American School Library research data clearly shows that students with access to school libraries and good books score higher in state reading scores and are more interested in reading.
"I think the big issue is that we really need to make reading part of school and make reading fun and interesting," said Rebecca Constantino, P.h.D., the founder and executive director of Access Books. "And that starts with having a good library."
About ACCESS BOOKS: Access Books provides quality, high-interest books to Southern California's most impoverished school libraries. Since 1999, they have donated more than a million books to school and community libraries in the greater Los Angeles area. Access Books has been featured in USA Today, the L.A. Times, the New York Times and School Library Journal among many other media outlets. Access Books' founder, Rebecca Constantino, is a recipient of Oprah's "Use Your Life" award. She has published over 100 articles and a book in the areas of literacy development, equity in education, urban school and cultural perspectives of language acquisition.
Give a Child a Book, She'll be Happy
Give a Child a Library, She'll be Literate
P.O. Box 64951, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Friday, September 17, 2010

suite 101 submission published

That's right.  The article I submitted on Sept. 16th was actually published that evening.  So.  Started.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

UBC Farm Friends

This morning was my first day back at the farm.  I'm going on Thursdays now; last year and the year before I went on Wednesdays.  I was very happy to see that some of the Wednesday volunteers had also switched to Thursdays, so I already had friends there.  The school children will be at the farm at our next visit on Sept. 30th.  Their school uses the Montesorri method, which is a new idea for me.  I thought that was only for preschoolers.

suite 101 submission

Yesterday I spent a few hours writing a draft of what started out to be an article to submit to suite 101, but it ended up being many pages long.  So, I rewrote the first part and have submitted it today.  I don't expect it to be accepted, however.  I didn't include any images (at least one is recommended) because I couldn't figure out how to do that.  Still have things to learn, not surprisingly.  I'll let you know what happens.  I expect to hear from the editors in a day or two.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

writing articles online

A few years ago, I heard or read something about Suite 101, looked into it and then went on to other things.  Last October, at the Surrey International Writers' Conference, I came across a table display about it and talked to the woman about what it was all about. I must have signed something and then forgotten all about it, because yesterday when I came across a link online, it rang some bells.  I clicked and signed in using my email address and a password I often use.  Lo & behold, they knew all about me--my name & address, etc., just popped up on their page.  But, I was signed in as a reader only.  So, I clicked on the button that invited me to apply to be a writer for Suite 101.  The name and address boxes were already filled in for me, with only three boxes left: one for my brief bio paragraph, one for a writing sample (suggested I just use "one of my articles"), and one to say I'd read the terms and conditions.  Then I could submit it for approval.  Amazingly, I was able to find an article in my MS Word documents, so it wasn't quite as daunting an exercise as it might otherwise have been.  Wait 24 hours, they say, for their response.  So, this morning there it was: I was "approved". Okay--maybe they approve everyone.  No, apparently not. On their facebook page I found one poor soul who said she'd been rejected three times and wanted to know what she was doing wrong.  So, maybe I was lucky.  Now all I have to do is write an article (400-1000 words) that fits their extensive submission guidelines and have it approved by their editors for publication, and then I can write some more for them.  They even pay!  Worth a try.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

new era

I'm entering a new era in my life.  Since 1971, our family's spiritual home has been St. James Anglican Church, at the corner of Cordova and Gore, in Vancouver.  This morning, my husband and I went to Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican) for the first time.  Changing churches is an emotional jolt, especially after almost forty years in the same place.  It's personal and very painful, but briefly the reason for our departure from St. James is financial.  We can't afford the parking charges!  Can you imagine?  We can't afford to go to our home church.  I never thought I'd ever have to say that!  Our children went to Sunday School, married and had their children baptized at St. James.  My husband and I reaffirmed our wedding vows there on our silver anniversary.  Our eldest son and his wife reaffirmed their vows on their twentieth anniversary, because they doubted he would live to his twenty-fifth.  He did, but a couple of months before their 25th, their son drowned and three months after the anniversary, my son died (of cancer).  Their funerals were at St. James.  We always expected that our funerals would be there, too.  But I guess not, now.  This is the saddest and most personal note I've published here.  I hope I never have another like it.
I've added the cathedral's link on this site.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

well, actually....

In my last post I said something about getting my ms back from Lorimer. If you read any earlier posts on that subject, you'd see that I didn't get anything back from Lorimer. Not even an e-mail reply. Just time lapses with nothing. Then, someone enlightened me that Lorimer does not deign to communicate unless it is to accept something. So, after wasting a few months waiting in ignorance, I finally got the book back into the swing from publisher to publisher. I'm beginning to think of it as a sort of dodgeball game with my ms as the ball being dodged by one and all. Most depressing. However, must keep it in the air if I hope to get it published. And I do hope to get it published. It's hard enough to accept rejection, though, but being totally ignored is worse! At least with rejection, it's possible to know that it's time to move on.
I've told Coteau Books that they have the ms exclusively until February 2011. Then, in March 2011 I intend to send it to the next in the queue. Well, that is if Coteau hasn't decided to publish the book. I can still hope for that! Until February.

Friday, August 27, 2010

the novel's next step

When I got ANGELS IN THE FLAMES back from Lorimer, I was up to my neck in working on the play, so it got put on the back burner. However, next in the queue, so to speak, was Coteau Books, and they take juvenile submissions only between May 1 and August 31. So, yesterday, I printed the whole ms again and sent it off this afternoon. It's a bit late, but I hope it'll be considered--and accepted, ideally.

the last day

Today was the last day of the Vacation Bible School at St. James. I'm so happy that it was a success. I started the ball rolling by writing the play, "The Wolf and the Saint: the Life of St. Francis of Assisi as told by the Wolf of Gubbio". One of the parishioners came forward a couple of months ago, and volunteered to do the crafts and games sections of the VBS. The crafts would be puppets for the show, and the games would work out kids' energy. The parish priest led prayer and praise sessions at the beginning and end of each day, and told a Gospel story every day. Another volunteer coordinated light healthy breakfasts and lunches for the kids when their parents & care-givers dropped them off and picked them up. My husband played the part of St. Francis in the play, and I was the wolf except on the last day. On that day, a boy who suffers from autism and didn't want to participate in much over the week, suddenly volunteered to play the part of the wolf in the performance for the parents. We did only Acts I & IV for them, but the wolf was onstage almost all the way through. It was wonderful to see this little boy take the part and do it so very well. I couldn't have done it better myself--honestly! We did only the two acts because with Acts II and III, it would have been double the length. However, much to my surprise an delight, the kids had enthusiastically requested that we do it all for their parents. Their response was very rewarding for me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

writing the play

Since "Script Frenzy" time last April, I've been working on a play--I may have mentioned this before--probably. Anyway, I keep thinking it's finished. Silly me! It's too long. I just need to cut a page or two here or there, and that's not easy. With a novel, I can just kill off a character. With an article, I can delete a paragraph (usually). But with this play, there's so much I want to tell. I could easily add another Act, but I already have four Acts. I can't kill off any characters because I N E E D them! So, I keep going over the scenes and looking for words that can be chopped out without killing the tone of the play. I've already done as much "death to all adjectives" as I can, but I'm still finding the little ones that snuck in while I wasn't looking. Last Saturday, at the Franciscan Convocation, I had some wonderful help from my TSSF brothers and sisters. They performed the first and fourth acts, and I was able to see that there were still many places that needed tweeking. It was an enormous help! What was especially wonderful was that they seemed to like the play! (Very important that TSSF should like the play, as it is "The Wolf and The Saint: The Life of St. Francis of Assisi as Told by the Wolf of Gubbio". And if anyone knows the life of that saint and his relationship with that wolf, it's TSSF members.) So, I'm still tweeking. Gotta have it done this week because we're having a rehearsal at the church on Thursday morning, and our Vacation Bible School starts on Monday, August 23rd. The play is a major part of the VBS programme. Nose back to grindstone! Butt in chair, and fingers on computer keys! Quite a picture, eh! hehehehe!

last weekend

Last Friday, my dh and I drove down the I-5 (my least favourite highway because of its odd entries and exits left and right) and went to a Franciscan Convocation. We don't go every year, so this was my fourth. The first was in Union (?) Washington, the second was in California, the third was one our fellowship hosted here in BC, and this one in Federal Way, Washington. Next year will be in California again, I think. We missed the big one in Boston. Just too pricey for us. The convocations are much too short! But, I guess if they were any longer we wouldn't be able to afford to hold them or to attend them. So, Friday evening until Sunday lunch is the best we can hope for. As Franciscans, we pray for one another daily, following a list such that each person gets prayed for one day a month. So, when we get to Convocations, we have the opportunity to put faces to many of the names we pray for each month. That helps with the prayers, too, because these faces pop up in our minds each day at prayer time. I have a particularly bad memory when it comes to attaching names to faces (I firmly believe that we should have name tags tattooed onto our foreheads at birth), so these meetings are very helpful. I see that one of my TSSF sisters has started to follow this blog! Thank you!

mid-August already?

Shame on me! Almost a month between blogs! However, here I am with an attempt to catch-up again. You may note that at the bottom of each entry there is now an opportunity for you to respond by email or otherwise. I should mention here that while I have a twitter account, I've never used it. I visit facebook occasionally. I do, however, check my email regularly. And you know how "often" I attend to my blog. :(
This is an experiment, this response option thing. So, let me know if it works, okay?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

publishers' information

I'm so glad that I'm a member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators). There's so much information that comes my way that I would otherwise miss. For example: today there was a post on the listserv for SCBWI/Western Canada that provided a link to Lorimer's guidelines. Now, I have a link for that on this site, but I don't check it every day--not even every week. You may know that I currently have a manuscript at Lorimer's and have been trying to learn the status of that ms, but with no results. So, in today's post I learned that Lorimer does not let writers know if their ms is not being considered. (Not even a "reply" to an e-mail ms status enquiry.) And, although I thought my historical novel would fit with a series they have, I see that they are not seeking historical fiction at the moment. So, now I can send my novel off to the next publisher on my list. And, I can try my hand at writing something that Lorimer (or another Cdn publisher) would like. Meanwhile, I'm polishing my puppet play, "The Wolf and the Saint", to take it to the Franciscan convocation and then produce it at St. James' Vacation Bible School next month.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

computer problems come and go

I am SO impressed! About a week ago, or less, I had a problem with my computer getting stuck on "hibernating" mode. No matter what I did, the laptop continued hibernating until I was convinced it was in a coma. I phoned Dell and jumped through all the hoops suggested by the techie, and nothing worked. Finally, he said he was sending me a box and I would have to phone Purolator to send the computer to Ontario to be fixed. That was Wednesday, I think. Then on Thursday, the box arrived. On Friday I phoned Purolator and within a couple of hours someone arrived to pick up the box. (I waited from Thursday to Friday because I needed to go and buy some packing tape for the box.) So, late Friday, my computer was on its way. This morning (Tuesday) the doorbell rang and the Purolator delivery man handed me my computer. Fixed. I'm amazed at how fast it was fixed and returned to me. Nice to have some good news, isn't it!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I don't know if I've mentioned it here before, but I am a regular contributor to the parish magazine, Pax. I think that visitors to this blog can access that magazine by clicking on the link to St. James, and then finding the link to the magazine from there. I have articles in all the copies except one. The deadline for that issue occurred while I was traveling in Israel and the UK, and although I had been asked to write an article I knew I couldn't do it under those circumstances. So, I guess I missed the Easter 2010 issue. Because I'm a volunteer contributor, that is, writers for Pax don't get paid, I've never counted it as "real" writing. But I suppose I should count it. Before Pax came along, I was a regular contributor to its predecessor, Cornerstone. That one was a prize-winning publication. I don't know what prizes it won, I only know that the magazine had won something at sometime. It's an honour to write for these publications. By the way, back issues of Cornerstone are also available by clicking on the St. James link, I believe.

Vacation Bible School preparation

Preparations are moving along nicely, I think. The crafts and games are being planned. Promotion is, I guess, coming along--although I'm not involved in it, so I can only hope that the ones working on it are working on it. As for my play, "The Wolf and the Saint", it's moving along at a Franciscan pace. That means, slowly but surely. It will be ready for the Vacation Bible School, August 23rd to 27th, God willing and if the creek don't rise, as they say.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

friend's book launch

Yesterday evening I attended a book launch at the Vancouver Public Library, in the children's section. My long-time friend, Gail Edwards has written, along with Judith Saltman, an important book about Canadian children's books. It's called Picturing Canada. It's such a pleasure to see a friend achieve this success. Gail is the head of the history department at Douglas College, and also teaches at the Library School at UBC. She has a PhD in Library Science. The book will be an important reference text for anyone interested in the history of children's illustrated literature in Canada. Of course, I bought a copy. I'll see if I can find a link to put here to help you find more information about it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

blog comments

Way back in April, when I had just arrived home from my travels, someone left a comment on one of my blog postings and said he'd left an email address for me to respond to him. Unfortunately, I didn't even see his comment until yesterday! And worse than that, I could not find the email address he said was there. So, I don't know if there's a hidden spot in this site where I could find such information. It's too bad, because I wouldn't mind exchanging ideas with people who read my blog. This person, in particular, wanted to discuss travels in Israel and Palestine. Hmm. Too bad.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Last January, just before we left on our trip to Israel & the UK, I sent my Angels in the Flames manuscript, with a cover letter, to James Lorimer Publishing. The children's editor is Carrie Gleason. On June 1st, I sent an e-mail to Ms Gleason reminding her of my submission. It' s almost six months now from my initial submission to this company. I would love to have my book published by this company, so I sincerely hope to receive a positive response from Ms Gleason soon.


Summer arrived yesterday, I guess. Weather notwithstanding. When the sun is out, it's okay. In the shade, we're back to spring. Or winter.
Today I should have been at kindergarten, but I didn't want to pass along the cold I'm battling. I'll go to the farm tomorrow, though. It's outdoors, and the kids aren't likely to be in close contact with anything I touch. Today was the last day for kindergarten, though. Next week, they'll have only half a day in class on the Tuesday, but I have the okay from the teacher to drop in for a moment to say good-bye to the kids. Tomorrow is the last day for the farm, too. Sunday School is done for the year. As for tutoring, I have only one student now--prepaid for the next several classes.
I'd say things were slowing down, except for the fact that August is almost filled up chock-a-block. July, so far, is not quite so full. I don't doubt that it will fill up in no time.
Of course, I still have to finish writing that play!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

day 2 in the Holy Land again

The photo in the previous post is actually from the other side of the building, the Muslim side. In the back, you can see the little grill that is the window on the Jewish side. The Muslim side is a beautiful, big mosque. Beside Abraham's tomb stands a matching tomb, that of Sarah. In the centre of the mosque, there is the tomb of Isaac and on another side stands Jacob's tomb. These three cause a concern, no doubt. Muslims claim descent from Abraham and HAGAR (not Sarah) and her son ISHMAEL, (not Isaac) and of course the other name for Jacob is no other than ISRAEL, the father of the Jews. Surely, the Jews are not happy that these three tombs are not only in Muslim-only territory but are not even visible from the Jewish side of the building.

day 2 in the Holy Land

Our second day in the Holy Land was a day of traveling. We went (by taxi) south from Jerusalem to Hebron and then to Bethlehem: our first foray into Palestine. We had been warned that it could be dangerous. We didn't see any danger, but we did see lots of soldiers with guns. It was a bit tense at the border stops. Our Arab driver became very submissive in attitude when speaking to the authorities at the check point. Our passports were examined closely and returned to us without comment. Our driver was allowed to pass. By the side of the road, we noticed an Arab woman who had been refused entry. She had to stand and wait for someone to give her a ride. We drove into Hebron, but finding a parking space was not easy. The driver dropped us at the steps leading up to the building that housed Abraham's tomb. A soldier stopped my husband and me, and asked, "Are you Christians?" We answered, "Yes." He said, "Good." And let us pass. At the top of the stairs we entered an area that seemed to me to be a Yeshiva (a Jewish university, maybe) or perhaps just a library. On the right, there was a small grilled window with through which we could glimpse Abraham's tomb.

day 2 in the Holy Land

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Vacation Bible School

Last year, we used a commercially developed programme with the theme of St. Paul in Ancient Rome. This year, most of the people who volunteered last time will not be available. This means that, while we had hoped to repeat the programme this year, we would have to replace almost everyone and all the roles would have to be learned all over again. Also, last year we used almost the entire building at St. James church, and one of the key locations is currently under renovation. So. I've prepared a programme myself, based on--you guessed it--St. Francis of Assisi. Using the play I was writing for Script Frenzy, I'm adapting it for use with children doing a puppet show. It still has lots of work needed, but I know what I want it to look like when it's finished, and I think the research is all done. (Research has a way of demanding attention at the most inconvenient times, so I'm not discounting it just yet.) Some folks have come forward to help with the VBS, so I have high hopes. Well, maybe just hopes. A lot will depend on how many children show up and what their ages and interests are. It's all a work in progress until it's over. That will be at the end of the one week programme: Monday, August 23rd to Friday, August 27th, mornings.

computer woes over

My hubby is a genius! He got a new router and hooked it up and it's working like a charm. So no more grumbling and no more excuses!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

computer woes continued

It has been about two and a half weeks that I've been unable to connect with the internet on my laptop. Something is haywire with the router or something, I guess. What this problem means, though, is that although I can write my blog using my husband's desktop, and read emails, etc., I cannot get to my photos to post them with my messages about my trip to the Holy Land. I was doing it bit by bit, and had not got very far before the internet mess happened. So, I've been avoiding the blog in order to avoid grumbling about the glitch. So here I am, grumbling again.
Besides that, what else is new? I'm tutoring three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday afternoons), volunteering in the kindergarten on Tuesday mornings, at the UBC farm on alternate Wednesday mornings, leading morning prayer at St. James on Thursdays (except this morning) and serving at Thursday morning Mass (except this morning). I've been looking for a new spiritual director, and that's part of the reason I'm not at church this morning--related appointment. Due to all these activities, I haven't done much revision of the play about St. Francis since last weekend. Last weekend, we were at Rivendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island, and I used some of that quiet time to research more information on St. Francis and St. Clare for use in the play. Because we were on retreat, though, we missed our TSSF fellowship meeting for this month. St. Francis can sure keep us busy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

computer woes

I'm having to use my hubby's desktop computer for the internet because the D-Link router (or whatever it's called) is refusing to talk to my laptop. So, I can't get online. Yesterday, I was online for about an hour, then got kicked off again in the middle of reading emails. Grrrr. So, even if I had had something to blog about, I wouldn't have been able to.
Okay. I've vented enough about that. At least I do have access to the desktop sometimes.
Now, one last word about Script Frenzy: Met with Inez at White Spot for the TGIO celebration. All of us (both) had lunch together and discussed our scripts. She finished hers, but I got only as far as 68 pages (as mentioned before). TGIO = Thank God It's Over. Now all I have to do is get back to the script and finish it. That's all.

Friday, April 30, 2010

script frenzy 2010

So here it is April 30th, the last day for 100 pages in 30 days, and I've got all of 68 pages done. So, I didn't get my stage play completed in 30 days, but I've got most of it done. And I'll finish it so that, hopefully, I'll be able to have it performed this summer, or at least the first act of the play. I'm planning to have it as a puppet show. It's for kids, about St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio. Now that I'm not chained to the guidelines of Script Frenzy, I'm free to make the acts and scenes the way I want them. This challenge has been quite a learning experience. I never would have tried to write a play if I hadn't signed up for this. Very interesting and educational!

Monday, April 19, 2010

nanowrimo & script frenzy

It's driving me crazy! My laptop has decided not to recognize the memory stick that I have my stage play on. I've saved some of it on the hard drive, but not all. In fact, I've written Act I scenes 1, 2 & 3 and Act II scenes 1 & 2. All I can retrieve is Act 1 scene 1 and Act II scene 2. Grrr! I have to check the memory stick on the desktop and see if I can get more there. Now. There. I've vented, so now I'll get on with it. Maybe. I hope.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday School lesson

Today I was teaching a Sunday School lesson about what one of my seminary profs called "The Picnic on the Beach". It's John 21:1-19, where the disciples have been fishing all night without success, and Jesus appears and sends them back to try again. This time they come back with a net full of fish (153 fish; apparently there's some significance to the number but I don't know what it is). And the result is the disciples and Jesus have a nice breakfast together. They didn't recognize Jesus at first, which is also remarkable since this is his third appearance to them since his crucifixion. The children were most impressed with the photos of the location of this beach picnic, the Sea of Galilee (aka Lake Tiberius or Lake Gennereset). The red on the left side of the picture is my jacket. We were at a restaurant at the Sea of Galilee having lunch (fish, of course) on February 8, 2010, my son's birthday. We phoned him from there, and he was appropriately impressed!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

nanowrimo & script frenzy

In case you've been looking for more about that trip, you'll have to wait a bit longer. This month (April) is similar to November. Why? Because November is NANOWRIM, aka National Novel Writing Month, when competitors have to write a 50,000 novel in 30 days. In April, the same organization has a competition called Script Frenzy, when competitors have to write a 100 page screenplay or stage play or something similar. I've elected to write a stage play about St. Francis of Assisi. I'm calling it The Wolf and the Saint because the story is told by the Wolf of Gubbio. It is now April 15th, and I've written only about 30 pages, so I'm behind time. So, most if not all of my writing right now is the play. I'll let you know how it goes. I "won" the NANOWRIMO, and I hope to "win" Script Frenzy.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

a minaret

This minaret was right outside my window. The calls to prayer were through a loudspeaker, and early in the morning it was better than an alarm clock. The nun in the Austrian Hospice where we were staying said that the early morning call to worship was good advice. She was able to translate it from the Arabic to mean: It is better to rise early and pray than to stay in bed and sleep.

day 1 in the Holy Land

My husband and I are on the Mount of Olives, with Jerusalem behind us. Notice the Dome of the Rock (golden dome) between us. The weather was cold and windy, but despite the blue sky we had a downpour just a few hours later, followed by a brief hailstorm. Later in the week, though, we could leave our winter coats behind.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

travel report 3

Still continuing the "day" we travelled from Vancouver to Tel Aviv: Our taxi driver didn't take us directly to the hospice. He hummed and hawed about it being in the Old City, and how taxis couldn't go in. I knew they could get to the hospice and I said so, and he mumbled something about only certain times, certain gates, etc. I said I had heard that it might be difficult (or impossible) on the Jewish sabbath, Friday evening to Saturday evening. February 3rd was Wednesday. Nevertheless, the driver took us from the Damascus Gate to the Lion Gate by way of the Mount of Olives. But as we couldn't get into the hospice just yet, we didn't complain. We enjoyed the view from the sacred place, looking across the Kedron Valley to the Golden Gate. Here began the first of our three hundred plus photos we took on this journey--I plan to get the best of them on this blog as soon as possible. First I have to learn how to do that.
Eventually, though, the driver did take us to the Austrian Hospice, 37 Via Dolorosa, in Old Jerusalem. Our first mistake? When he said, "Pay me tomorrow. I'll take you wherever you want to go. How about Bethlehem?" we didn't object. Of course we wanted to go to Bethlehem. We were too exhausted to argue and too fuzzy-minded to think that this might not be the best way to arrange our visit to Bethlehem. Now, not having paid him for the trip from the Damascus Gate to our accommodation, we were obliged to him. Not a good thing!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

travel report 2

You may have noticed something about me by now: I can't count. The first of these travel reports actually was written in Jerusalem; this is the second report written since arriving at home. Still, I hope you don't get too caught up in the numbers and will be able to follow along anyway.
I mentioned in report 1 that I'll never again go away for six weeks in a row. Another "never again" will be trying to lump several places into one trip. I just feel that once I'm on the other side of the continent and Atlantic, I really should take advantage. But if I do that, sometimes the route gets complicated because the airlines have their rules and regulations that do not take customer convenience into consideration. (Why would they worry about customers? Like many businesses, the airlines have totally forgotten that the customers are the REASON for their jobs and earnings, NOT merely an inconvenience or interruption to their money-grabbing.) The inconvenience for customers I refer to is the illogical itinerary I stupidly signed up for. I really should have paid closer attention, but I was being told that this was the only way British Airways would take me to my desired destinations.
This trip (pilgrimage, actually, as we were commissioned as pilgrims in our church before we left) was to Jerusalem and Assisi and Northumbria. (Northumbria was more of a visit to relatives than to sacred shrines, although we did a little of that, too.)
The route to Jerusalem from Vancouver was like this: Leave YVR roughly around 5 or 5:30pm on February 1st, and arrive ten hours later at Heathrow somewhere around noon their time, February 2nd. Then we had to hang around Heathrow for seven hours before our flight to Tel Aviv. Now, first thought is, hmm, could I book a hotel room and sleep for a couple of hours before the flight; or maybe take the tube into downtown London and walk about for a while. No. Can't do that, because as we're en route to another country, we don't actually LAND in England officially. We're in transit. So we mustn't leave the airport--not even the "not in England" part of the airport. This was a bit of a problem, because my husband's walker was sent on to "England" instead of "Israel" because if we're seven hours in the airport, he's going to need his walker to get around. Without going into detail, let me tell you that it took a couple of hours just to get someone to take me down to the luggage area to get the walker for my husband. Through security, shoes off, the whole bit, just to get the walker for him. We finally got on our flight to Tel Aviv and arrived there around 5:30 am, February 3rd. How many hours is that? I don't do numbers, as you may recall, but I know this was far too long to go without even seeing a bed. But we aren't there yet! We still have a bus ride to Jerusalem, and a taxi ride to our hospice, and can't book in until 3pm.

Friday, March 19, 2010

travel report 1

Finally, I can get to my blog and report on what has happened over the past six weeks. This is likely to progress slowly, because I want it to be easy to follow and easy to read.
This trip began with a blessing and commissioning as a holy pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Assisi, and Northumbria. The journey itself began on February 1, 2010 and we arrived home in Vancouver on March 16, 2010. My first comment is that never again will I go away for six weeks. Some years ago, we took eight weeks, and I knew that was not a good idea, but now I say that anything more than a month is too much. That's for me. Other people might do better than I do with long journeys.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Israel 2010

This is the first opportunity I've had to post here since our arrival in Jerusalem one week ago today. Last time I looked, the menu bar was all in Hebrew. But today, I was in luck and caught it in English.
There is so much to tell about this trip already. I've been making notes in my journal and in e-mails I've sent to relatives. I think I want to devote time to getting it all straight in my mind, and post with photos (if I can figure out how). This much I'll say for now: We're staying in the Austrian Hospice, 37 Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem (old city). It's very comfortable--self-contained bedrooms and breakfast included. No television, but I'm able to use the computer in the lobby free of charge. There's a dining room where you can buy lunch or dinner until 9pm, but the menu is quite limited. Schnitzel or spatzle, soup, salad, and their idea of a sandwich. A sandwich is a basket of 2"thick round slices of French bread and a plate of cold cuts, cheeses, and sweet peppers and tomatoes. You make your own "sandwich"out of that! However, across the street is an Arabic pizza place, and there's an Armenian restaurant down the street at Station 4 (the hospice is at Station 3 of the Via Dolorosa, for those of you who are familiar with saying the Stations of the Cross in church). The Armenian restaurant has a better menu, but more Arabic than European. However, I do recommend the Austrian Hospice to anyone traveling in the Holy Land. It's quite inexpensive, given its location. The New City is more expensive!
During the past week, my husband and I have visited most of the traditional Holy sites in and around Jerusalem (from a Christian point of view, at least). And we've been to Abraham's tomb in Hebron, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Jericho, the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Cana, Nazareth, Tiberius, etc. The ""etc." may or may not need more elaboration when I actually post the details of the pilgrimage.
Many of the places in the Holy Land are under the supervision of the Franciscans, so we feel more at home than we otherwise might. I forgot to bring my Franciscan cross with me, but my husband is wearing his wherever we go. It has caused several other Franciscans, of all three orders, to stop him and shake hands in recognition. The first time being in St. George's Cathedral, where we attended Mass on Sunday morning. A woman (an Anglican priest) with a group from Devon, England, came and said, Ït's nice to see a fellow Tertiary." She gave us her business card, so if we have a chance we'll call her to say hello when we're in that area next month.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

travel count down 2 more sleeps

Two more sleeps! Nowhere near ready! But, some major accomplishments achieved, not least of which is the completion of "tweaking" my novel. It is now all printed and in the mail to Formac Lorimer Books. (See James Lorimer link). Every post office clerk has a different idea of how a manuscript ought to be mailed. Today, I had to buy two express envelopes, one for the SASE and one to hold the ms, etc. So, may angels go with my Angels in the Flames! I've done all I can do with it for now.
The only other "major" accomplishments were getting my hair cut and returning my library books. I would like to say that the library books had been more help than they were. Actually, they weren't books, they were Arabic lessons on CDs, tapes & videos (with 2 manuals). I can't say I learned very much at all. I've doubled my Arabic vocabulary, though. Now I know two words. I knew "sala'am" before, and now I also know "shukran". Wow! That'll be quite a conversation. "Hello. Thank you." Wait! Tripled! I know how to say "no"--it's "la". But if you say it as they do in Saudi Arabia, it might be like "la, la, la", but in Egypt like "la' " with a glottal stop at the end. Very helpful. I'm not going to either Saudi Arabia or Egypt! I wonder how they say it in Israel/Palestine. I've been advised to avoid both names for that place and just refer to it as "The Holy Land". Apparently, everyone agrees on that designation. Nice that we all agree on something!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Today I spent the morning with the little folk in the kindergarten class, meeting them for the first time. I won't see them again until after Easter, I guess. But it was nice to be included again.


I've finally finished the "tweaking" of my novel. The rearranging of chapters, repagination, etc., are done. Now all I need to do is get it printed up and packaged, ready to pop it in the mail later this week.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

travel count down week 1 continued

Not mentioned in that list of activities I have this coming week, is the continuing "tweaking" of my novel, Angels in the Flames. The tweaking is the rearranging of the book's chapters, from ten chapters to twelve. Also, changing the font from whatever it was (can't remember the name) to Times New Roman 12. That means that there is some "tweaking" of pagination, too. And, of course, I can't resist the occasional fussing over words and details. I think I'm improving it. I hope so. The goal is to be ready to pop it in the mail to the next publisher on Saturday, January 30th.

travel count down week 1

This time next week I'll likely be panicking that my packing isn't done. It never is really finished until the last moment. This week will be super busy, too. Tomorrow isn't too bad, but Tuesday I'll be in the kindergarten class for the first time this year--and won't get back to those little folks until at least March, more likely April. Wednesday morning is the school visit with the UBC Farm class. The next time with them after that will be March 17th, the day after I get back from the trip. If I'm not totally jet lagged, I'll be there. Then this coming Thursday, I have a doctor's appointment at a time when I would normally be in church; Thursday evening is the Vancouver History lecture night. I'd like to go to that. Friday morning, too, I have another doctor's appointment, and Friday evening I'm tutoring ESL. Saturday morning I have to get my hair cut. Then there's Sunday followed by the day we leave.
We leave Monday, February 1st, we'll be at Heathrow for about 7 hours--February 2nd; and we'll arrive in Israel on February 3rd. A very long journey!

Monday, January 18, 2010

travel count down week 2, continued

As promised, here it is-- More later: I've been trying to do some "tweaking" to the Angels in the Flames novel, so as to make it ready to send off to the next publisher. The tweaking is a restructuring of the chapters, growing it from ten chapters to twelve. I don't know if that will be a big improvement, but I hope it will be publishable, finally. So I'm still rewriting. I'm not sure that it will ever end. I've heard of novelists who continue to rewrite even after their work is in print and on the shelves--yes, rewriting them as they sit on the shelves! I hope I won't be that compulsive. But as long as this novel keeps coming back, "good" rejections notwithstanding, I'll keep looking at it to see how it can be improved. I really want this one published.
I missed the deadlines for a couple of short stories that I wanted to write and submit to contests. But I have been working on practising Italian and Hebrew for my trip. However, I learned from a friend who had lived in Israel for a couple of years that Arabic might be even more important especially in Christian areas. I don't know a word (other than "salaam") of Arabic. So, I've ordered some Arabic textbooks from the public library. Hopefully, I can get a few useful words. I realize that with the history of British presence and the current interest of American Jews, most likely we can get along just fine using only English. However, I do know that people appreciate it when tourists make the effort to say a few words of the language of the country they're visiting. That's my goal. Just a few words. As a linguist and language teacher with 30 years experience, I know it takes at least 2 years to learn a language with any degree of fluency. (Language school with claims to the contrary are ridiculous. Don't buy a course with such a claim. It's too good to be true, so it's too good to be true.)
This week and next will be filled with packing and repacking, at the very least. I never pack just once. I also need to know what the latest rules are for the airlines. Thank heaven we're not going to the USA! Already, by avoiding the USA, we've saved a considerable amount of money on insurance!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

travel count down week 2

two weeks plus one day to departure time, 15 sleeps! More later! Getting busy again!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This time last year I posted about our family Epiphany Brunch. I won't repeat it all now; I'll just say that we did it all again last Sunday. We were going to have it on Saturday, as we usually do, but the out-of-town family members who couldn't come last year wouldn't have made it this year unless we moved the celebration to Sunday. So we did. This time, all five of our family groups had representatives for the first time in a few years. We had a lot of fun--did all the same things we did last year.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Epiphany was actually a couple of days ago. We went to the evening Mass and then to the potluck supper afterwards at St. James Church. The dates of Easter and other feasts were announced during the service, and and chalk was blessed. So, a day or two later we said the prayer at the front door as we wrote on the lintel: 20+G+M+B+10, for 2010, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar who were called upon to protect our home in the name of Christ. We hadn't done that before. A new experience.
We will celebrate Epiphany tomorrow with the family, with our annual family Epiphany Brunch. I've made the trifles, and now I have to wrap the bucket gifts and circle gift. We have the catalogues handy for the families to select gifts to purchase from World Vision .

Monday, January 4, 2010

travel count down week 4

Twenty-nine sleeps. Thinking about what to pack, especially with the airline regulation changes almost daily. The time we'll be en route from Vancouver to Israel is almost alarming. We leave on February 1st and arrive on February 3rd! Some of that lost time is due to time zones, and some of it is sitting waiting in Heathrow (I think). I sure hope I'll sleep on the plane. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.
Meanwhile, I'm working on getting my Angels novel ready for the next submission. I want to get it out before we leave.