Category Archives: Community




We can be spontaneous! Can’t we? Plans changed, our expected company cancelled, and guess what? A long weekend out on our Catalina 28 stretched before us (the first one all season, where the gods had aligned us with a free weekend and a perfect wind and sunshine prediction). At least, that’s what we envisioned…

With 4 free days ahead of us, we toyed with destination possibilities and settled on the nearest – Mark Bay (between Newcastle Island and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island) – a mere 2.5 hour sail away from home! My working senior husband was exhausted from attending corporate meetings in Vancouver and his retired author wanna-be wife was due for a break herself. GREAT TIMING!

We hoped to arrive in time to tie up to a mooring buoy, and actually “vedge” for a couple of nights before a final sailing day home. The Captain visualized himself taking the dinghy over to the Nanaimo Harbour and casually making his way up to his favorite marine store, Harbour Chandler. His crew thought they’d walk the Nanaimo Sea Wall and indulge themselves on French toast and lattés at Mon Petit Choux. Obviously hikes around Newcastle and Protection Islands were also on her list.

Naturally, we didn’t get away until work was put away for the weekend and the boat was provisioned for our relaxing water retreat. Not planning ahead, we hadn’t expected the entire Island to have the same last minute plan as us! Obviously they weren’t working on summer Fridays, as every single mooring buoy was reserved by the time we arrived mid-afternoon. DUH! Oblivious us forgot this was Nanaimo’s BATHTUB RACE weekend! Remember?

NO PROBLEM! We’re old hands at anchoring, I mean, really, who needs to be tied up to a buoy?

Evidently, the Captain did! We no sooner dropped the anchor, that he spied a familiar sailboat motor by us. We had just encountered this boat tied up to a buoy while searching through the marine park. Snap decisions were made! The race to the vacant buoy was on! We’d be tied up for the weekend, yet!  (Much more relaxing when one can never rely on accurate weather forecasts!)

The anchor was pulled up and the throttle aimed forward at top speed. As we bee-lined it for the targeted buoy, imagine our surprise when we found the sailboat’s dinghy tied up to it. He was returning to the coveted buoy!

How deflated we felt as the Captain veered away in search of open water (which was getting less easy to find) in which to drop the anchor, once again. The crew casually questioned the Captain about the depth we were in, as it was obvious that we were experiencing low tide (very, very low tide!). His calm response was, ” 3.5 feet, but remember, I’ve calibrated it to always calculate another 8 feet for keel displacement.”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth, KABOOM! CRUNCH! (Oops! Maybe there was a tad of mis-calculation on that calibration!) You can feel it, can’t you? Yep, we were hung up on some flat rocks about 3.5 feet under us!

 You know the saying, Some days you watch the show and other days you are the show!

Indeed! The tide was coming in, but the Captain was anxious to free us from our stony captor- the sooner, the better. (We really didn’t want to prolong the show, now did we?) Reversing just made us KLUNK into some other stony underwater grip. Once we stopped trying to dislodge ourselves, it took maybe 2 minutes tops and the incoming tide freed us and we motored out of the bay with our caps pulled down low and our collars pulled up high. (The crew half expected to hear cheers as we motored our way out of the bay…)


Sitting on the TwoCan beside the haul out dock, waiting for morning to come to assess our damage, we couldn’t bring ourselves to call or message anyone about our embarrassing little calamity. But wouldn’t you know it? Our dear SCYC friends were on their way to rendezvous with the club’s Summer Cruise and caught the Captain’s request for assistance. They followed the entire radio exchange; of course they did! Words out and something tells me a nomination for the annual “MEMA AWARD”(Most Embarrassing Moment Award) will be forthcoming at the Commodore’s Ball this year…

The Captain is still shaking his head in disbelief. “S_ _ _ HAPPENS!@!” … Oops, forgive me, I meant to say “ACCIDENTS HAPPEN!” (Of course I did!)


And the woman writing about this little teensy mishap on the water, is in the process of publishing, “WHO’S the CAPTAIN?” Perhaps when you read the AUTHOR PAGE of her nautical picture book, you might understand why this “hiccup” definitely could be possible!

I love cruising with MY CAPTAIN, how about you?  Maybe you’re the CAPTAIN yourself and have some interesting tales to share.  Remember, “misery loves company”! Share some of your stories by clicking on the LEAVE A REPLY (Enter your comment here) below the post. ( We really would feel better if you could top our MEMA moment!!)







AN APOLOGY TO MY FOLLOWERS: I know this isn’t Tender Tuesday or Wacky Wednesday, and not even Theatrical Thursday… Please accept my apology for publishing this on Freaky Friday! (I’ve been a little busy….)

Many of you may not be aware that I’m in process of publishing my first Picture Book! I waited for months to have the carefully chosen publishers respond to my query and tell me how anxious they were to get the project to print. I dreamt of bidding wars over my manuscripts- seriously! You’re shaking your head right now, thinking another disillusioned novice gets a dose of reality. Not exactly! I have had some experience with publishing in a former segment of my life and after retiring from my full-on career as an IB principal- threw myself into writing 3 humorous Middle Grade novels (the Frenchie Series). (I’m being cheeky here and pointing out that they’re listed in the blog roll to the right of this post with links to Amazon and Red Tuque Books- just in case you’d like to check them out… ha!)

I was in a BIG rush to break into the book publishing world at that point and just couldn’t wait around for publishers to acknowledge receipt of my manuscript (MEANING: those that would even consider glancing at an unsolicited manuscript). That’s right, I never looked too hard for a literary agent. I figured I had researched enough and through my amazing educational career with literacy, knew which publishers would be ideal for my books. Well, wasn’t that a bit of a shock when they didn’t immediately call, upon receipt of my query packets, to offer a contract?

At that point, I thought I could make it work on my own, so I published with CreateSpace (self-publishers associated with Amazon). Let’s just say, I’m not sure anyone actually found my novels, even though they promised great distribution, if authors did all the right things. I totally worked diligently, booking readings, setting up a website, blog , twitter accounts, and Pinterest boards. I put my ebooks out on Smashwords, as well as Kindle, so that it would be available on all e-reader platforms. I found a Canadian Distributor (Red Tuque Books) and purchased ads for catalogues and literary newspapers, etc. I set up tables at X’mas and summer markets, and the list goes on…

What was the lesson learned from all that effort? THE BOOK BUSINESS is a difficult one to break into (near impossible, in fact, no matter how many webinars you watch, How To books you buy, subscriptions you have to Writers Digest, Book Baby, Canadian Children’s Book Center, etc.). However, in spite of all that, I still had to listen to my inner voice that was saying, “Hey Mary, do you think you’re a writer?” The answer is YES! And I had one particular story going through my mind, ever since I started sailing the Pacific North-West in my late 40’s on our TwoCan Catalina sailboat. I knew I had to publish it, and as I wrote this picture book, at the core of the inspiration were the delightful cartoons that were created and published monthly by Pacific Yachting Magazine’s COCKPIT CONFESSIONS’ cartoonist. Each vignette for this repetitive language picture book, had to have an amusing twist that would engage children, as well as parents and grandparents, and the entire boating community. The day I set up a meeting with Dave Alavoine in Starbucks in North Vancouver, was a day I’ll never forget.

Dave and I gave each other hints for how we’d recognize one another. (I had already been on the web looking at his past shows of his political cartoons, so I assumed I had a bit of an advantage.) But no, he was the one who figured out it was me- could it have been the meeting agendas laid out or the stack of my Frenchie novels, that gave me away? I chuckle to myself when I reminisce about that first meeting. I left it feeling like I was walking on air. He was such a lovely man and could visualize what I was looking for in the cartoons as we went through the text (which laid the context) and the action and dialogue I envisioned for each of the 23 images. Although, he was already committed to another book deal (Learn to Sail the Hard Way) and, of course, had monthly commitments with Pacific Yachting Magazine, he agreed to collaborate with me on OUR project, WHO’S the CAPTAIN?

This is the image that will be used on the cover of our book (I thought you might just like to have a sneak preview …)

Cover_004In my next installment I’ll explore more of the “tender moments” that transpired between Dave and Mary in their collaboration process of this awesome picture book that is on its way to becoming a reality! The core element to the success of this project has been INSPIRATION!

I know many of you who read my TENDER TUESDAYS have inspirational stories of you own. I would be so grateful if you would click on LEAVE a COMMENT below this post and leave your story. I promise to respond to all comments that are left. It enriches our experience, when one shares their thoughts with us. Please do!






                                               -Anyone Playing?

Welcome back to the Post Script of Cruise Ship Bridge Lessons.  I wonder if I’ve totally put you off enrolling in bridge lessons aboard after reading about our instructor, Christine, last week. I certainly hope not!  Believe me, she’s still in my head when I deal a game!  This memorable character left quite an impression on all of us!  My husband says I shouldn’t have been so polite when I mentioned one of the male passengers had declared, “Christine, you scare the ” s_ _t ” out of me!”

All teasing aside, our cruise did come to an end after 58 short days! My husband and I experienced a bit of emotional reluctance when expected to descend the gangplank for the final time. Who were we going to play BRIDGE with? How were we going to keep improving?  When would we have time to play BRIDGE, once we returned to reality?  Oh such deep, disturbing questions (and all mine)!

We had good reason to wonder.  Reality hits hard when one has been away from home for a couple of months.  Although we’d prepared “our people” at home with HUGE hints that we’d be dying to play BRIDGE with them upon our return… the invites never quite materialized.

There are several BRIDGE CLUBS available in our neighborhood, but Christine’s words of caution kept ringing in my ears.  She convinced me that we’d be decimated if we joined a group too soon, without further lessons.  Husband Ryan was too busy to indulge me with practice games (using our Joan Butts’ cards), knowing that it’s near impossible to play with 2! So what was a girl to do?  I kept reading my BRIDGE books, studying my notes and I joined lessons and practice sessions online at  I highly recommend this site for anyone who is out there and wants to retain the skills you’ve gained. However, I should caution you…


Seriously, you start off thinking, I’ll just play 3 hands and 10 hands later, your husband is begging you to shut down, as the glare off the screen light is causing him sleeplessness…


Read the rest of this entry




What Happens on 5th Floor, Doesn’t Stay on 5th Floor

Welcome back to Tender Tuesdays! This week’s installment moves forward with our father’s brief stay on 5th Floor of our local hospital. As you’ll recall, we’re the senior kids caring for parents living long and healthy lives- many surpassing the more normal 100th Birthday milestone. This is the new norm!

Picking up from last week’s post, our dad was being moved out of Palliative Care and sent up to 5th Floor. We went up with him, the orderlies pushing his cot through the crowded hallways into a room with two beds. When we arrived, the nurse who accepted our father, was curt, ill-prepared, and had no intention of getting to know the man being moved to her ward. She settled him into his new bed and disappeared. We were left to fend for ourselves. Really!

Of course, the first issue we faced was how he was supposed to communicate his needs, when they had put a CALL NURSE push button under the sheet and expected him to be able to use it. His hands and arms resembled Popeye the Sailor Man’s, so that wasn’t going to work. And, after several requests to have the call button replaced with a remote; one was never found.

The second new reality that hit us was his emergency need to use a bedpan. The nurses in Palliative had come regularly and helped him privately, reserving his dignity. NOPE, not so on 5th Floor. My husband dispatched ME (of course he did…) to find a nurse and get some help pronto…. GOOD LUCK! There were all kinds of workers on the floor, but it was impossible to tell who was a cleaner, an aide, a nurse, or a doctor. All of them wore pyjama-like attire and they all had their eyes glued to computer screens (mobile computer stations along the hallways and at the nursing station). I was frantic, knowing how upset our dad would be, if I didn’t get a bedpan to him soon. No one wanted to look up and acknowledge my presence. When I finally did get noticed, I was told that they didn’t have the time to be running in and out with bedpans and that he would be wearing DEPENDS from now on. Okay, not exactly what we were hoping for, but not our battle to fight… At least I didn’t think so, until, that is, my sister-in-law came to visit that evening, and found her dad lying exposed to anyone passing the doorway. No one had thought of drawing the curtain while he was using the bedpan or covering him with a sheet. Shocking, isn’t it? (Let’s just say, they found out immediately, from that moment on, what our expectations were for our dignified father’s care!) Oh how we missed Palliative Care with their wonderful bedside manner!

No one wrote any instructions for his care on the communication board that first day. He was still not eating and drinking much, but he was more awake and certainly required attention. Let’s see…no water, no straws, and no Kleenex box (required to catch the mucus during coughing fits -whether it gave his guests the heaves or not)! No sponge swabs for his lips and mouth, and no lotion offered for his chapped legs and arms! We were on our own to scrounge the basic requirements for his comfort.

When the dinner tray was delivered, of course he’d finally drifted off, after his traumatic move. No one even inquired whether he was capable of feeding himself (which he absolutely was not). It was quite an introduction to hospital care for the elderly!

They weren’t interested in getting to know our dad as a person. It worked for them to have the family taking shifts to be with him, assisting during meal times, toileting, and caring for our dad. (They took out his false teeth one night and never bothered with them again.) And don’t even ask if his “bed hair” was combed by anyone besides his daughter!

He had rallied his way out of Palliative Care, and he was awake and cognizant of his surroundings. He was able to carry on lengthy conversations, and this non-complainer started to complain! He had no trouble voicing his annoyance with his roommate’s cell phone calls in the middle of the night! His appetite and thirst improved so much, that he actually requested a beer. A real GERMAN- right to the end! I know, right? His daughter snuck a beer onto the ward that night and he downed almost the entire can! He really was parched!



What the nurses did have time for was setting up appointments for the family with the Social Worker. When you come to the 5th Floor, they want to make sure that you realize that this will be his level of care until he passes, if you don’t secure a bed in a Complicated Care Facility (new name for Extended Care…). If you started the paperwork for a subsidized bed, the wait list is long and he’d have to stay on 5th Floor until there was an opening. The other option was to discharge him and move him into a private care facility. Let’s just say, we didn’t need much time to act. There was no way the family could have him stay in that environment for any length of time. We secured a room for him in the same complex that they had their independent living apartment. Dad was going home!

As we approached the Nurses’ Station to inform them that Dad would be moving to private care, my husband noticed a prominent sign posted above. It stated something like this:


We both looked at one another and I knew my husband (somewhat like his sister…) would have something to say about this sign. He commented, “I’ve never seen a sign like that posted in a public building before.” The nurse replied, “You’d be surprised at what we deal with in hospitals. Health care workers take more abuse by the public than any other professional body.” Our eyes met, as we replied, “REALLY!” in tandem. (Translation: “We have no doubt.”)

The questions we asked ourselves from this portion of our journey with Dad, included:

  • Are all 5th Floors of hospitals like this? (Meaning, 5th Floor designated the ward where people are terminally ill and never return home.)
  • What are they doing on the computers that consumes most of their on duty time? Is it time sheets? Are they making patient notes? Are they checking Dr.’s orders for their patients? Is it simply a devise to prove that they were on duty? Are they tracking inventory? … I don’t think so! Seriously, what is more important than paying attention to the patients in their care?
  • Should it be necessary for a sign to be posted, re: public abuse? What does it say about our community? Have health care workers addressed the reasons for why they felt they needed such a sign, in the first place?
  • Why is the public so emotionally distraught on 5th Floor, that such a sign IS required?

Our gentle, kind, polite Dad didn’t feel cared for on the 5th Floor and his dignity was compromised. He may have been seriously ill, but he wasn’t on medications and he had a sharp mind. He knew that they weren’t caring for him properly and he just wanted to go home.

We’re still confused by the contrast between Palliative Care and 5th Floor care in the same hospital facility. At least our Dad enjoyed his beer during his stay, and we had more time with him, before he fell asleep forever.

I know that many of my readers have had “hospital experiences” – some good, some bad, and some probably downright ugly! Please share your stories with us in the COMMENTS section below.




World Book DayCelebrations for WORLD BOOK DAY are happening today in schools everywhere.  Students arrived in class dressed up as their favorite character and enjoying author visits, as well as sharing their own books published through Writers’ Workshop.  It’s an opportunity to inspire enthusiasm for one’s favorite titles and create awareness of the diverse and worthwhile reads out there.

No longer an educator participating in these school celebrations, I chose to share a book review of an eBook that was recently written by a woman while undergoing breast cancer and extended preventative surgery.  Tanyia Pelham was motivated to  write, HEARTS of the PRAIRIE PAST, as she convalesced and reminisced about her youth in the 70’s,  living on a ranch situated near a small prairie town. She weaves a tale that is authentic through the dialogue (They really did talk this way!), and the priorities and principles that rural communities lived by in those days. Although, the life she creates appears simpler, there are still the conflicts, disagreements, secrets, vandalism, and racism that is prevalent in our society of today. Coming of age is the theme of Tanyia’s novel, capturing the insecurities of a young teenage girl as she discovers her inner strengths and accepts herself as she is. Any city tween/teen picking this novel up would find the contrast between the way country girl, Missy grew up pre-tech, completely foreign from their own modern day childhoods.  This can’t be classified as a historical novel, but it does take you back to a time, after the fallout from World War Two, and the importance of community to support one another. For the adults, this novel would be a walk down memory lane of a life that seemed simpler and straight forward.

You may want to celebrate WORLD BOOK DAY by reading Tanyia Pelham’s tender story from an era of by-gone days. It is available on Amazon in Kindle format or paperback. me know if you celebrated WORLD BOOK DAY by snuggling in with a favorite read, and if you did, what was it? Leave a comment below, I’d love to receive book recommendations from you.


Children’s Writer Shares Enthusiasm


Children’ s Writer Shares


         Nanoose Bay author Mary Laudien is having a blast writing humorous, contemporary novels for anyone who loves their pet.

She shares that enthusiasm with young readers at the Wellington Library’s Summer Reading Club Thursday(July 5 ) at 2 p.m.

Laudien, a retired principal from West Vancouver, is writing the third book in her Frenchie series, aimed at nine to 12-year-olds, ages that she believes engage in reading through humorous books they relate to personally.

In the first book, Ethan enlists the aid of his quirky grandmother, and a following of bloggers, to realize his dream of owning a French bulldog. Misadventures ensue, including a bargain dogwash business in his mother’s laundry room, all shared nightly on his blog.

The sequel sees Ethan and his mom with not just one, but two puppies to train .

The books are available at CHAPTERS as well as Nanaimo Maps and Charts.

To register for the summer reading program, please contact the library at 250-758-5544. The Wellington branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library is located at 3032 Barons Rd.

For more information on Laudien’s books, or to read the bulldog blog, please visit

Thank you to the Nanaimo News Bulletin for running this article!  Wouldn’t it be fun to have the Wellington Library packed with doggie people who love to read?  Join me for some laughs and some free Frenchie Give-Aways.  And don’t forget, participants at the Frenchie series presentation can enter the Blog Comment Contest to try out your blogging skills!

Blog Comment Contest


With summer reading upon us, Mary Laudien is excited to share the first two books of her Frenchie series as a way to inspire kids to read and write blogs over the long summer break.

In preparation for Mary Laudien’s Author Visit to Nanaimo Wellington Library’s Summer Reading Club, she has organized a BLOG COMMENT CONTEST as a follow-up activity.  Participants will be given a business card with her blog address (  They will be asked to visit her blog site after the Author Visit and leave a comment.  The participants will have some experience with blogs through her readings and will be asked to briefly comment on one of the following:

1. a recommendation for an author visit with Mary Laudien

2. a brief review of or recommendation for the novels introduced: Frenchie’s Best Friend- Follow the Blog or Frenchie X2- Follow the Blog

3. a personal connection that the participant made to the books  or the characters

The comment  must be posted by 10:00 p.m.  on July 10th with an EMAIL ADDRESS included so that Mary can contact the winner of the draw on July 11th.  The winner will be contacted by email to arrange delivery or mailing of the Frenchie Give-Aways. The prizes are the Frenchie Tee-Shirt (Size XLarge Kid’s Size) and a copy of Mary’s second novel- Frenchie X2-Follow the Blog. (Please Note: The teddy wearing the tee-shirt is NOT included in the Prize Package!)



And most of all, thank you for attending the Wellington Summer Reading Club on July 5th  at 2:00 pm with Mary Laudien!