Category Archives: Mary Laudien

FUN HAPPENS! CHANGES URL

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ATTENTION ALL FUN HAPPENS! FOLLOWERS 

I am in process of moving my blog to a new site: http://www.marylaudien.com

I value your visits to my  WordPress Blog and the comments you leave.  I am hopeful that you will subscribe to my new site:

HUMOROUS KIDLIT & Tender, Sassy Posts

You will expect to find two types of posts:

  • TENDER TUESDAYS 

  • FUN KIDLIT FRIDAYS

I’m looking forward to meeting up with you on my new site.  Please copy the URL now, so that we can continue to share fun stories with one another. (http://www.marylaudien.com)- easy to remember if you know my name…

 

TENDER TUESDAYS

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YOU MEAN WE HAVE TO TAKE IT OUT ON THE WATER!

Sailboat ownership was new territory for Prairie Girl. She was so busy getting the new school year launched, that she barely had time to perseverate on the fact that they now owned their very own Catalina. Warm, fuzzy feelings descended upon her whenever she’d mention to her colleagues and parents at her school that they were now proud sailboat owners! (Oh yeah, she was still locked into her rosy vision of the beautiful people sailing in white, flowing nautical clothing, sipping champagne in the evening under the stars.) Obviously not grounded in reality! DUH! Instead of seeing a Catalina 27 that had had better days, she was transporting herself down the coastline on an imaginary 50 foot yacht. Something had to burst that bubble!

Reality hit the day husband announced they’d be moving their boat from Granville Is. over to a marina in North Vancouver, just a couple of blocks from their apartment.   He wanted it close by so that he could check it often and work on the boat projects that were needed. (By then, husband had quite a list, as being a German, he has a thing about all his possessions being kept like new.) Of course, Prairie Girl had no idea what moving the boat entailed, so she innocently invited her youngest son and his friend (who did know something about boating) along for the crossing.

They no sooner got out into English Bay with the current running against them, that husband experienced abrupt motor failure. It was an outboard motor that had to be hand started (you know, like a gas lawn mower), and then it appeared that he had flooded the thing from too many pulls. It took a few minutes to realize that the towing rope for the dinghy was not a floating rope, and as husband had slowed down, it had tangled in the prop. Within seconds (not minutes), it was apparent that the current was pushing us toward shore. And to make matters worse, husband was preoccupied with trying to steer a boat without power and holding up the outboard motor with his other hand so that Prairie Girl’s son’s friend could hang over the stern, trying to get the rope untangled. (Imagine her sudden realization that there was more to sailboat ownership than interior design and popping champagne corks!) Her son was equally traumatized, having had no experience whatsoever on a sailboat, either! Safety had never crossed her mind, as husband was always so calm and controlled. Thankfully, they somehow got the motor prop free, once again, and the engine miraculously started!

By then the winds were whipping them around, the motor was revving against the incoming current, making it difficult to make any headway, whatsoever. They’d missed the slack water opportunity and were forced to cross under the Lion’s Gate Bridge at less than an optimum time. In fact, they shot under the bridge like an out of control rolling log! What Prairie Girl envisioned (a calm, lovely picnic in the bay) and the reality of getting the boat into its resting place, were completely polarized.

Approaching the new marina was tense for the crew struggling to find the entrance, let alone the slip they’d been assigned. Of course, this marina had boathouses in it where people actually lived! Prairie Girl could see the crowd gathering as the motley crew attempted to dock and half expected a cheer to go up that they had made the perilous journey safely. (Actually, they were just concerned boaters realizing that novices were docking that could cause damage to their vessels.)

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Husband and Prairie Girl sent the boys on their way and locked up their boat. They trudged home in silence, prepared for bed, and fell fast asleep from exhaustion. It was only 6:00 pm.!

Could Prairie Girl be having second thoughts about sailboat ownership? Blimey, they hadn’t even hoisted the sails yet!

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The SHOW is over! Everyone’s back in their boathouses.

Do you remember your first boat? Did you have second thoughts about your purchase? Were you so traumatized that you NEVER SET FOOT ON ANOTHER SAILBOAT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE? Please, leave your stories for us. We want to hear all about those infamous maiden voyages. Just click below where it asks you to LEAVE A COMMENT and enter your adventure in the box. Also, leave your email address for notification, as the most humorous, entertaining story received will have a copy of WHO’S the CAPTAIN? mailed out to them upon printing. (You will want this collection of Dave Alavoine’s family sailing vacation cartoons, as the celebrated cartoonist of Cockpit Confessions in Pacific Yachting Magazine.) If you know any boaters that might have a story to tell, please send them this link, so that they can also share their story. http://www.twocandobooks.wordpress.com

 Thanks for visiting and sharing TENDER TUESDAYS!

TENDER TUESDAYS

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I know, I know… it’s back to Wacky Wednesdays.  So hard to keep on a schedule while traveling and working on one’s book!

YOU WANT PRAIRIE GIRL TO DO WHAT?

-A SAILING GET-AWAY? ARE YOU CRAZY?

My boyfriend (now husband) had enthusiastically sailed in his earlier years, and when he suggested that we should charter a boat for a weekend and give it a try, I somewhat reluctantly agreed. After all, I was PRAIRIE GIRL, what did I know about sailing the Pacific Northwest? Absolutely nothing! He, on the other hand, had apparently moved to Vancouver Island for a stint in his early 30’s and immediately notified the Royal Victoria Yacht Club that he was ready to join their membership. (Incredible as it seems, that didn’t work out so well for him! Could it have been that he didn’t even own a sailboat at the time?)

Nevertheless, one bright and early Saturday morning, sleeping bags and pillows were loaded, in preparation of leaving the Vancouver dock in our rented vessel. Boyfriend (now husband) feeling excited to be on the water, in contrast with Prairie Girl feeling uncertain, noting how run down and grubby the tired sailboat looked. Where was the gleaming yacht with the relaxed couple sipping freshly brewed coffee, like in the Lotto Max ads? Well, they certainly hadn’t used this old tub for their ad campaign! Somehow this sea adventure felt like déjà vu. It was only a few months prior to this that boyfriend (now husband) had taken her up to the top of Blackcomb in Whistler and suggested she ski down. Prairie Girl was starting to have those same unnerving feelings as he manoeuvred his way out of the slip on Granville Island.

The selling feature of the weekend was to get away from the stress and strain of career and single parenting to RELAX! Right, that keyword RELAXED, never actually happened that entire weekend for PRAIRIE GIRL. Once out in the strait, heading towards Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast, the sails were hoisted and we were instantaneously heeled over. (Of course, she had noted that it was brisk and windy that morning, but she had no idea!) A simultaneous EXHILIARATING / FREAKY EXPERIENCE! Novice PRAIRIE GIRL had never even heard of a tiller or known anyone who knew how to use one. Her prairie roots were showing big time! She held on for dear life, trying to brace herself so that she wouldn’t fall over the edge. Can you picture her white knuckles and look of terror?

 

Did she let herself enjoy the absence of the motor sounds and the smell of the lovely sea air? Well maybe… eventually. Was her boyfriend (now husband) enjoying himself and his Prairie Girl’s reaction to the big event? Oh yes! He knew it would only get more chaotic as they entered Gibson’s overcrowded marina to be instructed to dock as far in as possible. Obviously her boyfriend (now husband) hadn’t remembered the necessity of making reservations well in advance!

 

Miraculously, the boat was docked, and the marina’s bathroom was found immediately. (That’s right, holding one’s bladder for the entire crossing was mandatory, as Prairie Girl couldn’t let go of her grip to use the somewhat stinky head below…)

 

Of course, once docked and relaxed, Prairie Girl announced that she might be more of an “après-sail” sailor. The evening was lovely, sitting out on the back of the boat gazing up at the stars that night. All was perfect until it was time to prepare for bed. Of course, boyfriend (now husband) hit his berth and was unconscious immediately. Prairie Girl… not so! She tried concentrating on the mellow rocking of the boat, but could hear some creature moving above her head on the cabin roof. It made scratching noises… RATS!!! She kept still as long as she could, but eventually had to awaken her boyfriend (now husband) to save her from the RATS invading their boat! According to him, it’s common for seagulls to perch on one’s boat and walk about. Boyfriend (now husband) wasn’t concerned and simply rolled over and resumed sawing logs, while she kept a fearful vigil waiting for the RATS to descend upon them in the cabin.

 

The deceptive weekend focus was later divulged to Prairie Girl, once safely back on the mainland. Boyfriend (now husband) was seeking a suitable partner for a future of sailboat ownership and adventure. Well, was she it? Is it possible she actually passed boyfriend’s test? (Probably some of her saner readers are questioning why she would even want to?)

 

Some of you reading this can relate to Prairie Girl’s virgin sailing experience; I know you can!  It would be such fun to read your memorable FIRST SAIL. Please leave your story in the LEAVE A COMMENT section below this post. (Just click on it and a window opens for you to write in.)

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SAILING FASHIONISTA! BOATING & SHOPPING… OH YES!

 

You may find this hard to believe, but this same Prairie Girl is just about to launch a humorous picture book, illustrated by Dave Alavoine (Pacific Yachting Magazine’s cartoonist for COCKPIT CONFESSIONS) about family sailing vacations. Can you imagine?! (WHO’S the CAPTAIN? – End of September)

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PRAIRIE GIRL?!?

TENDER TUESDAYS

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CRUISE SHIP BRIDGE

-The GOOD, The BAD & The UGLY!

Part 1

Last fall, my husband and I embarked on a trip of a lifetime. Our cruise ship left Vancouver, British Columbia and travelled through the South Pacific Ocean and Islands, ending up in Sydney, Australia. But that was only the first leg of the trip. We then circumnavigated the entire continent of Australia visiting Bali, Indonesia and Komodo Island, as well. The entire cruise lasted 58 days! And I know what you’re thinking… What could this couple possibly do on a small ship (1200 passengers) with all those sea days between ports? Well, let me tell you, we were never bored; in fact, husband Ryan often complained of being over-scheduled! (I think our activities and classes may have overlapped with Happy Hour!)

We met a wonderful B.C. couple from Tsawwassen over dinner on the second night out and, discovered that their stateroom was across the hall from us. And wouldn’t you know it? They played BRIDGE and mentioned that they were attending the advanced class on sea days, but the instructors would be holding a beginner class and we should try it. Now, you have to understand, my husband, Ryan was the kind of student that spent a good portion of his scholarly days in the University Students’ Lounge playing BRIDGE. (Of course he did!) I, on the other hand, the more studious type, never played BRIDGE (or any other card game for that matter). Our new friends convinced us to take advantage of this opportunity and promised to mentor us by playing practice games between lessons. I don’t know why, but I wasn’t reluctant in the least to sign up. I romantically visualized my husband and I playing with friends at home during the winter and in anchorages on long summer evenings. Fortunately, my somewhat brusque husband agreed to be my partner for the lessons, pretty much the only activity he did with his darling wife, without any grumblings … (Okay, so Cha-Cha wasn’t his thing!)

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In retrospect, I now see how BRIDGE lessons seemed to take over our cruise life. I had to be up early enough to squeeze in a workout and shower before our lesson, and Ryan had to be connected, via internet, with work. He always made time for a hearty cruise style breakfast and if possible, attended a guest speaker talk (You know… those engrossing series about astronomy, global warming, and all that other fascinating stuff…) In fact, he’d usually slide into his seat, just as the lesson would begin, munching on sticky pastries, of course!

On the first leg, the instructors were a married couple and they were very calm, patient and simply lovely. THANK GOD!! Never a harsh word, always supportive with dimwit Mary who hadn’t yet mastered shuffling cards! We were paired with Andrew (an Australian from Brisbane who decided early in the lessons that Ryan should join him for crib during the day, as well, and join his boat-building team for the big culminating competition). Let’s just say that Andrew was more than capable of mastering two games simultaneously! Our other partner was Sharon, a fellow Canadian from Kamloops. Sharon had played a lot of bridge and should have probably been in the advanced group with our friends, but we were thankful she stuck it out with us. Of course, we were all keeners. This meant that after our hour of lessons, we would stay on another hour and do some practice games.

Andrew_Sharon_Mary_BridgeBy the time we were done with bridge, Ryan and Mary would split up and go our many ways. As often as possible, I’d take my bridge book poolside, trying to figure out what the heck I was doing! This is where our friends who got us into lessons came in. We’d meet up with them before dinner and play some hands (How they put up with my total misunderstanding of the game, I’ll never know…) And then after dinner, we’d sit in the theatre before the live show began and play some more.

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Let me tell you, people were drawn to us. We were BRIDGE magnets! They’d drop by and check out our hands and interrupt my concentration. Everyone had advise to offer me. It was obvious that I was the only novice in the group and even couples from our lessons would stop by and start telling me how to play my hand. Our friends were incredibly patient with me and never made me feel like the big L (I felt) was tattooed to my forehead.

Ryan wrote home to all our friends and family stating that his wife l-o-v-e-d BRIDGE and had taken to it like a duck to water. I wouldn’t actually describe my learning curve that way, at all. I was proud to be risk-taking and loved the challenge of learning something that made one think. It was often seriously intimidating when I was so behind in card knowledge, that even sorting one’s cards in one’s hand was difficult. (I was caught several times with cards hidden behind others without realizing it, or forgetting which suit was trump, or laying down the wrong suit to begin with… you get the picture.) It took a village to keep me progressing…

When the first leg of the trip was over, and all of our friends disembarked, we looked at one another and said, “Well, what do we do now?” Our cruise life at sea was all about BRIDGE! Microsoft classes, cooking demos, zumba, movies/live shows, and overindulgent eating wasn’t going to cut it –without BRIDGE!

If you’re curious about the second leg of our Australian cruise and how BRIDGE was addressed, you won’t want to miss next week’s TENDER TUESDAYS! Why don’t you leave a comment about one of your new skills or games that you’ve recently learned. I’ll bet you have some humorous stories to share. Let’s just say, you’re going to love the people stories in next week’s segment.

Thanks for reading TENDER TUESDAYS (even though it never got published until WACKY WEDNESDAY….ha!)

AUTHOR VOICE

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(Catalogue Article Submission to Red Tuque Books)

 WRITING with VOICE

by Mary Laudien

During my career as an educator/principal, I was innovative in structuring and implementing Writers’ Workshop in West Vancouver schools. The success that the students experienced by taking risks and realizing their potential as writers was brought home years later, when one of my earlier Grade One classes held a Grade 12 graduation party with their parents, and invited my former teaching partner and I to attend. The families wanted to acknowledge that they recognized how their confident children/learners had been so successfully launched in their school careers and were all anticipating exciting post secondary plans for their future. Writers’ Workshop was a powerful tool to bring parent involvement into the classroom as the students were immersed with excellent models through published authors and illustrators, and even their teacher! That’s right! I first started writing stories for my students (and parents), just to model that I loved writing, as well, and was excited to be a risk-taker!

What became a self-knowledge piece for these young writers was VOICE. Through examining the styles of  writers/illustrators, they recognized the patterns that authors use in structuring picture books (eg., cumulative, problem-solving, rhyme and rhythm, chronological, etc.). As well, after studying published picture books through Author Studies, a new story could be introduced and the students were able to identify who wrote the book, based on the VOICE of the writer. This became something that the students strove to develop in their own early writing attempts. When sharing their own published books on Author Podium days, they took pride when a peer acknowledged their success in writing with VOICE.

Now that I publish my own middle grade novels (The Frenchie Series), picture books (Who’s the Captain?), and blog posts, I feel gratified when a reader comments that my writing has a distinct VOICE. This is when I know that my personal style is coming through my work. Authors all have it. And you can find your VOICE, as well!

As just one final tip, if you want to hear your personal VOICE in your writing, you need to constantly do the Author Mumble. This means read your writing aloud, so that you can hear it. You’ll discover a lot about your style and voice through the dialogue flow that you’ve created and the personality traits of your characters.

You might care to know what words I’d use to describe my personal voice. They include: tender, cheeky, amusing with a bit of attitude, and personal.

As you check out my site: FUN HAPPENS-KIDLIT & BLOGS with ATTITUDE, I’d appreciate it if you left me a comment or two pertaining to VOICE.  Don’t hesitate to go back into the  archives (on side panel) as there are numerous examples of cheekiness- I promise!!  Thanks for dropping in.

 

Summertime is Book Time- Amazon Says So!

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I know you’ve checked out some SUMMER READS on Amazon and noticed their banner at the bottom of each book ad, “Summertime is Book Time”. Summer is a perfect time to chill and have a stock of books/ebooks on hand to read. That’s why I’m making FRENCHIE X2- Follow the Blog (the ebook) available to you FREE over a 5 day period.

You’ve already read BOOK #1 of the Frenchie SeriesFRENCHIE’S BEST FRIEND- Follow the Blog, so don’t hesitate to read BOOK #2 and share the link to anyone who loves pets, belly laughs, relates to teenage angst, and the family drama of divorced and extended families.

From July 22nd-26th, go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007BG2ETG or in Canada, http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B007BG2ETG And don’t forget! If you don’t have a kindle, you can download the Free Kindle Reading App. Anybody can read Kindle books; even without a Kindle device with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets, and computers. Thank you Amazon for this!

Frenchie X2

Who said puppy ownership was going to be easy for a 13 year old? Juggling the responsibilities of caring for and training not ONE new French bulldog puppy, but TWO, while simultaneously keeping his reluctant, bamboozled mother on side is full on! And that’s to say nothing of Ethan’s challenge to maintain a watchful eye on his conniving, eccentric Grandmother!

Pierre and Sissy (the most adorable Frenchie puppies-ever) have a way of complicating Ethan’s life. Throughout the chaos, Ethan tries to sustain his friendships, balance schoolwork with his lucrative business, and continue chronicling the hilarious, frantic journey on his nightly blogFrenchie’s Best Friend. Possibly this hectic life as a new Frenchie Papa could become a bit overwhelming… (Possibly? DUH!)

Please take advantage of this offer over the next 5 days, to download the FREE kindle version of FRENCHIE X2- Follow the Blog. It’s my SUMMER READING gift to you! If you enjoy it, please send a recommendation to others and leave a comment about the book on the Amazon site. This helps others to find the FRENCHIE SERIES amongst all the other zillions of entertaining novels to choose from.

SUMMERTIME IS BOOK TIME

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If you’ve been perusing the titles of books on Amazon, you will see the tag, “SUMMERTIME IS BOOK TIME” at the bottom of each of the titles’ ads. Like most people,we carve out more leisure time to read in the shade, poolside, or at a beach during the summer months. It’s also when you sign up your kids/grandkids into a Summer Reading Program at the library. As an author, its the perfect time to promote my Middle Grade Frenchie Series! These novels inspire tweens (ages 9-12) to read for entertainment. Readers relate to Ethan’s antics and scheming to own a bulldog, and realize that they too can write blogs about their passions.

I have a summer gift for you. I’m offering Novel #1 of the Frenchie Series, Frenchies Best Friend: Follow the Blog in a FREE E-BOOK PROMOTION for 5 days. From July 10-14, go to : http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0053HQ0AO or http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0053HQ0AO . If you don’t have a kindle, no worries! You can download a free kindle amp onto your iPad or any other eReader devise.

Order FREE eBook -  July 10-14

Order FREE eBook –
July 10-14

Frenchie’s Best Friend is a quirky story of a determined tween-aged boy and some adorable Frenchie puppies. For fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, this heartwarming, contemporary novel is a madcap mash-up of deceit, pet ownership, family, and friendship drama. It’s a double helping of fun and laughs!
Remember: SUMMERTIME IS BOOK TIME! Enjoy a fun family read together!

If you do choose to participate in this FREE e-Book promotion, and would like to recommend it to others, please leave a comment on Amazon and don’t hesitate to send this blog link to other readers: http://www.twocandobooks.wordpress.com

paperback: Amazon or http://www.redtuquebooks.ca

paperback: Amazon or
http://www.redtuquebooks.ca