Tag Archives: Mary Laudien

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.)

YKNOT'S_New_ Home_copy

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)

Mel at Helm

PRAIRIE GIRL?!?

TENDER TUESDAYS

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MEET INSPIRATION – Instalment #3

I know… I know…. it isn’t Tender Tuesday-it’s Marathon Monday.  That’s the point, I had to write my Tuesday post today…

I want to share how easily it is for me to relate to Dave Alavoine’s cartoons, as well as being inspired. In the PACIFIC YACHTING MAGAZINE (JUNE 2016 edition of COCKPIT CONFESSIONS), his cartoon illustrated a submitted story, entitled, SHORT WHITE WATER. The minute I read it, I was compelled to write about one of our early sailing experiences going through a pass in the Gulf Islands. (I’d love to scan this published cartoon here for you, but don’t want to break copyright.Please look it up!)

Several years ago, when my husband and I had just started sailing a 27foot Catalina, we docked for the night at Maple Bay Marina on Vancouver Island. Rather than start preparing dinner, after a long day on the water, we chose to go up to the pub restaurant. While enjoying our meal, we met a personable couple that were also sailing to Silva Bay (on Gabriola Island) the next day. We hit it off with these novice sailors, who were just like us! They had just bought a 24foot sailboat for some new adventures. He was an engineer and she was a judge and they lived on an acreage on Vancouver Island with their horses. Both couples were excited about being on the  water and we had some fun (and scary) tales to share with one another that evening. As we left the restaurant that night, we agreed to hook up with one another the next day at our new destination.

I’m not sure what they did after dinner that night, but my cautious husband had his charts and tide tables out, figuring out precisely when we’d be going through the Gabriola Pass. Apparently, it’s important to time it right so that you go through during slack water, as the tide starts to change directions.   So we followed our plan, and motored doughnuts at the mouth of the pass, waiting for the exact time that it would be safe to proceed.  I decided to sit up front and watch how my capable husband would manoeuvre the ON EDGE (The naming of our first boat is another story…!) through the pass. Well, didn’t I get a surprise, as we went through the middle of those tidal whirlpools at 7 knots when all 110 pounds of me took on air? Yep, I could have flown right off the deck onto the rocks, but luckily had held onto a halyard, as we approached. Being somewhat inexperienced, once we passed through and hit calmer seas, we both felt simultaneously relieved and exhilarated that we’d made it to the other side unscathed … (Okay, I admit I had a bruised bottom!) We couldn’t wait to meet up with our newfound friends to swap stories!

When we finally arrived at dock in Silva Bay, we spotted our new acquaintances sitting on the back of their small sailboat, sipping wine. They waved and shouted us over. We were shocked to see them docked and settled in before us!  How had that happened? When we inquired how they had managed to arrive before us, when one had to wait to go through the pass in slack water;  our question sent them into convulsions of laughter! Replying between gasps, “We didn’t know about all that, so we just went through when we got there. We shut our eyes and held on when it started to look dangerous and didn’t open them up again until we were spit out on the other end!” OMG! They cracked up over our incredulous expressions- I mean, really, who reads charts and tide tables? DUH! Obviously not this intelligent, professional couple!

I’m sure you’ve been inspired by experiences or artists, as well! I’m posting a print of a painting that Dave gifted me with during a visit to his home and studio (Polaris Design). It is not a cartoon, but a historical painting of the R.C.M.P.’s “St.Roch” – the first West to East transit of the N.W. Passage. This just gives you an indication of the depth of Dave’s artistic abilities. Tell us about an artist that has inspired you to react to their work in some creative manner. (Leave your story in the Leave a Comment section below.)  I hope you’ll look up the cartoon in PACTIFIC YACHTING’S MAGAZINE (June, 2016) to see Dave’s cartoon and understand why it was such a great prompt (and inspiration) for my story.

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Grand Prize: KINDLE FIRE or NOOK

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Books - it is our memory concept

Get ready for some fun, tips, and prizes!  You’re invited to participate in an Author Blog Hop.  The tour begins on April 7th at 6:00 am EST and finishes on the 16th at midnight EST, so mark your calendars!

Readers will have 10 days to enter each author’s individual contest (giveaways) and submit their entry for the GRAND PRIZE (a KINDLE FIRE or NOOK and a 25 dollar gift certificate for eBooks). Visiting 7-8 author sites per day and leaving comments and your email address will enter you in author site give-aways and also provide you with 79 chances to win the Grand Prize and Second Prize (a 25 dollar gift certificate for eBooks). Only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible for the grand prize ereader and gift card As well, each author site (79 in total) will also post a giveaway and either a gardening tip or a recipe. (I know I’ve got my recipe all ready for you, and you won’t want to miss it!)

It’s going to be a blast getting acquainted with all 79 participating authors and bloggers and YOU may just finish the contest by winning the GRAND PRIZE!

Please forward this message on email or retweet to anyone who you think would enjoy gathering recipes, gardening tips and competing for giveaways and the Grand Prize.

           Mary’s Blog: https://twocandobooks.wordpress.com

 

MEET the AUTHOR: Mary Laudien

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photoFrenchie X2 Author PhotoMary's visit

After reading the article entitled Meet the Agent- Barbara Lowenstein in Writer’s Digest (Feb., 2013), it occurred to me it might be helpful for my blog readers to know more about Mary Laudien, the Middle Grade Author. I decided to follow Kara Gebhart’s simplified format to provide this info to my blog followers (All 3 of you, but I know there are many more of you who were just waiting for an invite to subscribe!). If you seek more detailed information, you can always go to my website: http://www.twocandobooks.com

Who is Mary Laudien? 

  • a retired innovative educator  (Known for successfully transforming the public schools she was principal of into International Baccalaureate World Schools)
  • a newly appointed International Baccalaureate Recognition Ambassador  (The IB program provides a world class education with its best educational practices.)
  • an author with two books in her Frenchie Series published and a third written and ready for publication

Why Does She Write?

  • to share her love of Kidlit and promote strong reading and writing skills in schools (her passion)
  • to have a blast writing humorous, entertaining Middle Grade books for “tweens” (that even reluctant readers will want to pick up and read)
  • to share her novels with kids in schools and libraries as a way to inspire experimentation with powerful blog writing
  • to use her knowledge of “tweens” and create contemporary novels that acknowledge this age group (ages 9-13) as fun, interesting, dynamic and developing.  It gives kids, parents and grandparents  a chance to laugh at themselves and not take family change and themselves quite so seriously (single families, extended families, career moms, latchkey kids, new pets, responsibilities, technology issues, etc.).

Books Published

book front coverFrenchie X2 Cover

Why Write Blog Posts?

  • modeling blog writing for Middle Grade Readers. The Frenchie Series have blogs written nightly by Ethan (the 13 year old main character) to all of his Frenchie followers-Frenchie’s Best Friend
  • using life experiences and interests and writing entertaining, powerful blogs for others to critique
  • helping middle grade readers, educators, parents, librarians and pet lovers to find me
  • seeking readers who can enjoy the humor in contemporary life and adore their pets
  • helping other writers (students included) in their journey to publication

     Seeking

  • readers
  • followers
  • reviewers
  • other writers
  • publishers
  • agents

Hobbies

  • creating “shabby chic” furniture pieces
  • voracious reader
  • decorating and fashion
  • volunteer work: International Baccalaureate Recognition Ambassador
  • Zumba dancing and fitness
  • hiking
  • sailing
  • speaking French
  • dog sitting my sons’ French Bulldogs – Bert and Cecile
  • traveling
  • entertaining friends and family

Favorites

  • living author: Jodi Picoult (provocative examination of social issues that make you think from all perspectives)
  • dead authors: Maeve Binchy (humor and strong character voices) and Roald Dahl (humor and imagination)
  • city:  Paris, France
  • TV Shows: The Good Wife, Gray’s Anatomy, Parenthood, HBO’s NewsRoom
  • Foods: citric (lime) salad dressings, seafood, Lindt chocolate, nuts, avocados

Fun Facts

  • hosted a children’s radio show in Lahr, Germany for the children of the Canadian Armed Forces (CFN)
  • seconded to the University of Regina to teach in a model demonstration school on campus
  • opened the smallest German import store in a Freight Elevator in Regina, Saskatchewan (wooden toys, X’mas decorations and nutcrackers)
  • re-opened 2 primary schools in West Vancouver (Eagle Harbor and Cypress Park)
  • led West Bay Elementary’s (West Van, B.C.) transformation  as principal of the first public school in Western Canada to become an authorized IB World School
  • have grand dogs:  French Bulldogs (Bert and Cecile) named after Mary’s sons’ French grandparents (Her inspiration for writing the Frenchie series!)

Pet Peeves

  • keeping up technologically with an author platform. One learns so much (which is awesome), but there is always more that can be done.  It’s important to make educated choices about what the most effective ways are to reach one’s readers.

If you thought this was interesting or helpful, please don’t hesitate to pass it on to others, leave a comment, subscribe to my blog posts…whatever.  I love to write and share some of the wonderful things that I am learning through other books, blogs, tweets, webinars, authors and conferences. Your feedback is valuable to me.

A Five Star Amazon Review for Frenchie X2- Follow the Blog

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars “A Great Story” Jan 20 2013

By NancyofUtah – Published on Amazon.com

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

This second book of the Frenchie Series written by Mary Laudien is another fun-packed story. One can only imagine the chaos in the home when two puppies take up residence. From puppy surprises to training classes and other events involving Ethan and his mom, this is another hilarious read. It’s not only a humorous story of family and dogs, it’s all about kids growing up, learning about responsibility, and learning about charity. This story is packed with values for parents and young adults. I enjoyed this well-written story.

5 Reasons NOT to Read Frenchie’s Best Friend

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Don’t even consider reading Frenchie’s Best Friend- Follow the Blog this summer, if:

1.  you aren’t “gaga” about  dogs (especially French Bulldogs).

2.  you dislike reading for fun and humorous entertainment.

3. you’re a perfect teen that never does anything wrong or devious.

4. you can’t relate to a “Frenchie crazy” 13 year old boy from a single parent home with an interfering and quirky Grandma living nearby.

5.  you’ve never wanted anything so badly that you’d do ANYTHING to make it happen!

Of course on the off- chance that this doesn’t apply to you and you’d actually like to read Frenchie’s Best Friend, there are several ways to get your hands on the print copy or eBook.  The easiest is to go to my website and click on the titlehttp://www.twocandobooks.com

Sample or Purchase:
a. eBook Format
http://www.smashwords.com/b/96726
http://www.smashwords.com/b/137230
Kindle: http:// http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0053HQ0AO
b.Paperback: http://www.redtuquebooks.ca  (CANADA)
https://www.createspace.com/3711250 (US)

Of course, I’m sure you don’t want to read this first book of the Frenchie series!