Helping anxious kids through books

Helping kids deal with big feelings

Today’s preschoolers and elementary school-aged children have lived a good portion of their young lives under the shadow of a worldwide pandemic and now, if they are in British Columbia or many other places in the world, wildfires that may be threatening their homes.

Talking, no matter what the age, helps people identify and then deal with feelings around stressful situations in their lives. Books can be an excellent resource for starting conversations and easing anxiety. Some good keywords to use in a library or bookstore search include:

community helpers

emotions

anxiety

I took a quick look in our library catalogues for some titles that might help. Here are just a few.

Books for kids dealing with anxiety:

A Terrible Thing Happened

by Margaret M. Holmes and Sasha J. Mudlaff


David and the worry beast : helping children cope with anxiety

Anne Marie Guanci ; illustrations by Caroline Attia


The worry (less) book : feel strong, find calm, and tame your anxiety!

Rachel Brian


All birds have anxiety

by Kathy Hoopmann


I will be okay!

by Laurie Wright ; Illustrations by Ana Santos


What to do when you worry too much : a kid’s guide to overcoming anxiety

by Dawn Huebner ; illustrated by Bonnie Matthews


I am a peaceful goldfish

by Shoshana Chaim + Lori Joy Smith


How big are your worries little bear? : a book to help children manage and overcome anxiety, anxious thoughts, stress and fearful situations

by Jayneen Sanders ; illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman


A feel better book for little worriers

by Holly Brochmann and Leah Bowen ; illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez

This is not a complete or exhaustive list. These are just ones I found when I did a quick search of our library system. There are many other excellent resources as well.

If you or your family are experiencing anxiety about events going on around you, whatever and wherever you are, spend some time in your local library or bookstore and ask staff for help finding the books you need.


Vesta Giles is a Kamloops-based author and filmmaker.


The Spyders: Slither Me Timbers is available now!

Picture Books to Read Aloud

After 12 years of reading picture books to kids, these are some of my favourites. A good picture book is so perfectly written and edited it just feels natural. That is harder than it seems to accomplish and many authors and publishers miss the mark but the ones that do it well do it really well.

What is a picture book?

Picture books are usually between 24 and 32 pages and their large size makes it easy to spread out and read with a child tucked next to you or on your lap. From my perspective, they are easy to hold in one hand when you’re facing it forward to a group of children and the images are large and easy for kids in a group to see. The words are easy to read when looking from the side so you can read without having to move the book around a lot and so you can read it in front of you Storytime-style.

Reading aloud

Picture books are meant to either be read aloud or flipped through by children who understand the story by exploring the pictures. The print often isn’t huge as it’s meant for the adults who are reading them. The images, though, are usually spectacular and that’s the part that the children connect with. They hear the story orally and connect with the pictures as they listen.

This oral way of delivering a story emphasizes when the words are written well … and when they aren’t. I cringe when I see picture books with large amounts of text filling a page. Not in all cases, but in many the text is over explaining and lacks the crucial rhythm and flow that make reading aloud so magica. A great picture book to read aloud has beautiful flow and a natural and engaging rhythm. Every word is chosen with precision with the reader and listener in mind.

Tips for reading aloud.

Reading aloud when you’re reading to children in your life (children, grandchildren, friends) is easier than reading to a critical group of toddlers or pre-schoolers in a storytime program. But even if you know the children some people worry that they don’t have a great voice or get nervous about the performance aspect of it. My biggest tip if this is intimidating to you is to just relax and read “with wonder” – meaning embrace the story. To a child that knows and loves you, your voice is already perfect. It makes them happy and gives them comfort. Don’t get stuck on trying too hard or trying to be perfect. Just slow down and embrace the wonder and the story. Play with some voices too. Try giving big creatures a lower voice and smaller creatures a higher voice. Don’t make it complicated. It should be fun for you too and if it’s not, the children will know right away.

The biggest thing is to slow down and play with the story. If you know there is a surprise coming, then maybe hold off on turning that page and build the suspense. Children love play, and books and stories are a big part of that. Play involves experimenting and trying new things.

Allow for questions about the story as you read. Books provide great opportunities to talk about relationships, emotions, morality, and even cultural details that are different than what the child experiences in their everyday life. There are picture books that are written to deal specifically with issues of diversity and life issues such as grief and loss, and behaviour issues like sharing or kindness.

Some of my favourite picture books to read aloud:

Here are some of my favourite pictures books to read to children. There are thousands or amazing picture books around and I’ll review more as I come across them, but these are my trusty standbys. They are all a little older but they have stood the test of time. I know the stories well and I can easily get into the voices.

The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak (Dial Books, 2014) Ironically, the first picture book I’m going to recommend has no pictures! This is easily the most popular book I read to preschool, kindergarten, and even grade 1 and 2 kids. It’s so popular they request it when they walk in the door and I limit them to twice per year or I’d have to read it every week. This is a performance piece for readers. It’s the book I recommend all parents get their kids and read it to them. Must use voices! They never get tired of it!

The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008) There are lots of Pout Pout fish books now but the original, just titled “The Pout Pout Fish” is the best – you will need develop good voices!

Brontorina by James Howe, illustrated by Randy Cecil (Candlewick, 2013) This is a great one if your family likes dance but even if nobody dances, it’s a fantastically fun story about inclusion.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees (The Watts Publishing Group, 2001) This is a great book about individuality and self-expression.

The Wide Mouthed Frog (popup book) by Keith Faulkner, illustrated by Jonathan Faulkner (Dial Books, 1996) This is so much of a favourite for me that I’ve pretty much memorized it and it both read it to children and tell it to children. I love it! I have developed some good voices and the sense of surprise is fun to build up. Pop up books are a favourite of children but for the little toddlers they will destroy them. They are a great lesson on how to care for books but if they get destroyed, you just get another one. It’s worth it.

Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter, illustrated by Bill Cotter (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2013) There is a surprise on every page of this book and kids and adults have a lot of fun with it. It has some good reminders about cause and effect.

Fortunately, Unfortunately by Michael Foreman (Anderson Press, 2011) This is a really fun book with lots of adventure that really emphasizes how you can feel like all is lost but really you have the tools at hand to solve a problem. Plus there are pirates and aliens!

If You Give a Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond (Scholastic Paperbacks, 1988) There are several of these books but I like the original one the best. They are all excellent and lots of fun to read and to listen to.

Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Athenium Books for Young Readers, 2000) This one never gets old. It’s all about negotiation tactics.

A Porcupine in a Pine Tree by Helaine Becker, illustrated by H. Werner Zimmerman (Scholastic, 2010) – This is the 12 Days Of Christmas Canadian Style. Each year I read this to any kid or group of kids I can find. If they’re older I break them into groups and let each take a part which makes it a lot of fun. I think it’s best Canadian Christmas book ever!


My first chapter book, The Spyders: Slither Me Timbers, will be out soon in print, ebook and audiobook.

Visit http://www.vandelsopress.com for more info or sign up for the newsletter here.

The Joy of Chapter Books

My first chapter book, The Spyders: Slither Me Timbers, is coming out in print, ebook, and audio around the end of May (date still to be determined) and I am beyond excited. While there are many books I want to write for both adults and kids, and I have plans to finish several in the next year, I’m pretty pleased that my first book for my new publishing company and for me as an author will be a chapter book and it’s the first of a series.

I think chapter books are the unsung heroes of children’s literature and I don’t think they get the respect and admiration they deserve. Chapter books are the keys to accessing countless worlds of wonder for new readers.

What is a chapter book?

A chapter book is a short novel that’s usually in the 100 – 150 page range. Think of the Captain Underpants series (by Dav Pilkey), Diary of a Wimpy Kid (by Jeff Kinney), or the Magic Treehouse books by Mary Pope Osborne. Aimed at newer readers in the 7-10 age range, chapter books look like novels. They have chapters (hence the name) and usually black and white images that are sprinkled throughout the book. Their print size is larger than the standard novel but not so big they look like words for babies or little kids.

In the beginning – board books and picture books

Books for younger children, picture books or board books, or even beginning readers, lean very heavily on brightly coloured images with few words per page. These are books that parents read with kids on their laps, and little kids flip the pages and make up stories based on the images they see and the words they remember grownups reading. They are often filled with spectacular artwork and for many of us they are the first books we remember as adults.

Beginning readers

The first books kids actually learn to read are usually beginning readers, with somewhere in the range of 30 pages, roughly 20 words per page, and simple, colourful images that enhance the words. In the old days they would have been Dick and Jane books, and then Dr. Seuss. They are wonderful for becoming the first books where children sound out a word and read a page, and then a whole book. When those first words are read, a window is flung open in their minds and they devour these thin little books like the sweetest candy.

Moving up to chapter books

Next comes chapter books. The kids that are reaching for chapter books want to read like their parents and their older brothers and sisters. They want a book that doesn’t look like it’s for little kids. A chapter book feels like a novel. The size and the paper feel the same. They are the gateway to Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and A Wrinkle in Time for kids who aren’t quite ready to tackle those books solo. But these chapter books are starting to have more complex stories, and they now feature many more words than pictures.

Beginning readers are the window to the joy of reading, allowing kids to look out on a world of stories and feel a sense of independence. They give kids a glimpse of what is possible. Chapter books allow them to step out the door and if they find the right book, their lives are never the same. They land on other planets, in ancient Greece, in a magic treehouse, or in my case, the tiny, unexpected world of spiders in the garden. Chapter books are also the first experiences these new readers will have of becoming hooked on a series.

Moving up from chapter books kids will begin to dive into longer novels with much more complex and emotionally challenging subjects and content. I love seeing them at this stage too, but nothing beats the first time hearing those magic words, “Can I read just one more chapter?”

The Spyders: Slither Me Timbers will be out at the end of May, 2021. Sign up for the newsletter for the latest details!

A book nook nerd in the making

What is a book nook?

A book nook is a piece of miniature art, designed as a scene, that sits on a bookshelf between books.

My first booknook.

How did I start?

When COVID hit and I was at home I became restless and decided I needed to completely redo my office and it had to happen NOW! I’m calling the projects I completed between April and August COVID projects. Surfing Youtube and Pinterest I started to see book nooks appear. Most of the early ones were Harry Potter themed but there were others and I was fascinated. Over the summer book nooks have shown up all over the place.

I went from loving book nooks but not knowing where to start, to being determined to create one after I saw a Youtube video by Rachel Maksy. She normally does amazing cosplay videos but she made a book nook in one video this spring and her easy way of making the structure convinced me I could do it. You can watch her video here.

I started watching other videos from people like Ara at Bently House Minis and Black Magic Crafts (I’m not a DnD player or gamer but this guy’s techniques and enthusiasm are awesome!) and fell back in love with miniatures, something I was interested in when I was a kid. I’m now completely obsessed.

Maybe it’s the filmmaker in me who loves models, or the little girl that read The Borrowers and the Littles when I was growing up that made miniatures so interesting. I’m not interested in doll houses because of the dolls – it’s about the stories.

The thing I like about this kind of activity is that it lets me give parts of my brain a rest. When I’m writing I often run into stumbling blocks and problems I can’t see easy solutions for. I need to have activities like knitting, or making crafts, or cooking risotto, or even long solo cross country ski days that put the problem on the back burner in my brain. It’s hard to describe but by taking the pressure off solving the problem the problem often solves itself. This has been a very good project for me during COVID when I was trying to do a lot of writing.

Materials

Keepsake box from Michaels
  • Keepsake Box (make sure it isn’t too tall to fit on your shelf. It will be sitting on it’s back edge with the opening flap on the top)
  • popsicle sticks
  • stain (I used Unicorn Spit because I had a lot available)
  • white glue
  • super glue
  • mod podge
  • craft paint (I used acrylics and basic craft paints from Michaels)
  • watercolour paper and paints
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink pads
  • sharpie markers
  • clear vinyl (this is the type that they make table coverings out of. I had some on hand.)
  • foam core (sheets from Michaels)
  • craft foam (thick and thin – Dollar Store)
  • scrapbook paper
  • polymer clay
  • metal gear-shaped findings
  • steampunk charms
  • wooden skewers
  • Rustoleum clear coat
  • aluminum foil
  • silicone sealant
  • lights from Evan Designs

Construction

Structure

I started by cutting the end off the keepsake box for the opening. I saved the piece of cardboard I cut away as I used it later to make the back wall. This was a great idea from Rachel Maksy’s Youtube video (see link above). I didn’t want to build a box and this suggestion made all the difference. I roughly marked out where things would go on each wall with a sharpie. I ended up changing it pretty drastically by the end but it was good to have a reference to start out with.

Floor

The first thing I worked on was the floor. I used popsicle sticks and since I was already working on a massive bookshelf project using Unicorn Spit stain and I loved the bright colours, I used some for the floorboards. I laid out the bare floorboards first to make sure they fit. I lightly sanded the popsicle sticks and dampened them down first so the stain would penetrate. Once they were dry I varnished them with a Rustoleum clear coat that I also had on hand due to my large bookshelf project.

I laid the floor boards down in a pattern that looked pretty realistic with the colours and seamed spread out. I posted pictures on Instagram and some people thought it was a real floor.

Stairwell

Next I started working on the stairwell. I started with the arch and made it out of foam core. I discovered I hate cutting foam core. I then discovered the softer foam that is 5mm thick and I like that a lot more. The archway didn’t need to be that strong because it would be stuck to the wall and didn’t need to support anything.

For the backing of the archway I used a piece of cardstock and a layer of the thinner dollar store craft foam over top. I cut thin slices to make a ledge and I dug into the surface with a pen to make the stones and the stairs. I used wadded up aluminum foil to make the texture on the foam. I made sure to go really deep with the pen so the ridges between the stones and along the stairs were really deep.

I glued them together and realized I didn’t like the edge of the original foam core so I cut thin strips of foam to make some edging and trim around the arch.

To finish the arch I painted the stone using the stone painting tutorial by Black Magic Craft on Youtube. It’s perfect and I use it all the time now. I used Sharpie markers to colour the wood on the stairs and then I added a bit of watered down black paint as a wash to age them.

Originally I planned to have a wall sconce with a light in the archway but I realized at the end that it wasn’t deep enough and the light would have stuck out too much.

Fireplace

Next I made the fireplace in basically the same way I made the arch, minus the foam core. The fireplace is all thick and thin crafting foam. I didn’t need the top to be really strong because it was going to be glued to the wall. Later I added banners with fabric, wooden skewers, steampunk charms, and some of the gears I included in other places as well that I painted and folded in half to make brackets.

Bookshelves

The bookshelves were made with thick and thin foam as well. The outside panels are made from the thick foam and the shelves and back are made from the thin. I painted them and aged them to look like wood. The books are made from individually cut pieces of the thick foam and coloured on 3 sides using sharpie markers. Then I used a combination of fine gold or black pen to make the lines across the back. I coloured the tops of the books (where the pages would be) with beige or gold marker.

Furniture and Accessories

Most of the furniture, lighting fixtures, and accessories were made from polymer clay and the metal gears I got from Michaels in the jewellery department.

The chair is polymer clay with a metal gear piece in the back and fabric for the seat cover. The logs for the fireplace are polymer clay and the metal piece the are resting on is made from pieces from the gear package. The books that go on the desk and the fireplace mantle are polymer clay and paint. The desk is a combination of wood for the top, with legs made of foam, wood skewer, and metal gears. The crow, typewriter and inkwell are polymer clay.

The light sconces on the wall are polymer clay with translucent polymer clay on the top (with a bit of orange ink added in) and gear parts. The main chandelier on top is made of curved gear pieces.

Stained glass window and view

The back window is made from vinyl from a fabric store. I tried other types of acetate but the colours looked dull on them. I used bright sharpie markers for the stained glass. The back wall is the cardboard I cut from the side of the box that I trimmed down a bit. I covered it with foam so I could have the same stone look as the arch and fireplace and added trim and a chair rail before using the stone painting technique again. Behind the window is a watercolour painting that is just layers of orange and yellow to try and make it look like a sunset.

Ceiling

I wanted the ceiling to look a bit like it was falling apart and boards could be seen where the plaster had fallen. I used the thin foam again and dug really deeply with a pen to make deep wide grooves between the boards and roughed it up a lot with a ball of aluminum foil. I gave it a light wash of watered down brown paint. I then got watercolour paper and added layers of colour by taking distress ink pads and just rubbing the whole pad along the paper. I then dampened the paper and ripped it so it would show the edges. and then aged it. When I showed the picture on Instagram a friend told me she was sorry to see I was having ceiling troubles. Best compliment ever!

Walls

The walls were textured scrapbook paper that I rubbed a yellowish distress inkpad all over. I wanted them to look like old plaster.

Lights

The lights were the best and most frustrating part of this project and I learned a lot from them. The staff at Evan Designs are fantastic and really helpful. I’ll be making a large order soon for future projects. The nightmare with the US Postal Service this summer was very frustrating and it took a long time for the lights to arrive but that wasn’t the shipper’s fault – it was the shut down of the postal service.

The wires on the lights are very fine so the most important thing I learned is to not keep messing with them and connecting and disconnecting them. Just stop!

Now that I’ve had the lights I would do things a little differently. First, if I was going to keep opening the side of the box to work on it after placing the lights I wouldn’t put lights on that wall that moves. I had one wall sconce and the fireplace on that wall and they kept becoming disconnected, which kind of makes sense of you think ahead! If you do put lights on that wall then put them all on one switch.

The flickering lights all need to be on the same switch (or with other flickering lights – they can’t go with steady lights). When you put them all on one switch they will flicker at the same time. I would put them on a few different switches. It will mean a bit more expense and more switches to deal with but the randomness of the flickering would be nice.

I had 3 nano sized lights in the chandelier and they worked well. The fireplace that flickers is awesome and I used a small amount of silicone sealant to make a blob (spread it on a piece of glass and let it dry, then peel off) that wraps around them so they aren’t so bright.

I used a white nano sized light and an orange pico sized light in the back to light the sunset. I will be replacing the orange with a bigger one as it wasn’t big enough.

I started with only 2 switches in the back. One for the flickering lights and one for the steady lights. Doing it again I would use more switches based on the location of the light in the scene so I wasn’t stretching wires all over the place. The wires are glued in beneath the ceiling and behind the wallpaper and I’ll be removing them soon to redo my lighting.

The finished project

I love my book nook! There are definitely things I would do differently, like plan the lighting better and alter the layout a bit so it was easier to see things at the back, but overall I love it! I painted the outside black with acrylic paint that is already scratching off so I would definitely use some sort of scrapbook paper or something to cover the pattern on the box.

I made a front piece to glue on so the edges would be really clean and I would probably plan that better on the next one as well. I would also put some thought into scale early on. I realized I hadn’t done that and needed to know how big to make things so I created a little stick person who was the right size for this room, but it’s definitely not a standard scale. You can see my little stick person in some of the photos.

Other than that I am really pleased with my first attempt!

Next one(s) – the addiction continues

I have already started my next nook and I have plans for a couple of others as well as a condo building of rooms that pay homage to different murder mystery authors. I’m hoping this isn’t an indication of how long COVID is going to last.

Sounds like art

Daniela Cinel O’Fee has created a fascinating piece of art as part of Culture Days in Kamloops. Culture Days is a national program where artists create art that is accessible or participatory and in this case woven like wires into our every day life. The theme for 2020 is Unexpected Intersections and O’Fee, who is a pianist in Kamloops, took participants on a sound journey through time and space.

O’Fee’s work, titled Code…Encode…Decode: A Subjective Soundwalk, involved four unique sound stations consisting of plastic containers attached to poles. Each box has a QR code which can be scanned, bringing up a link to a sound piece she has created. Headphones were recommended, which I promptly forgot to bring, but I think it actually enhanced the experience although I would like to really listen to each piece again. I took my camera and took pictures of images at the locations that made me think, or were inspired by the sounds. It was a wonderful experience.

A QR code waiting to be scanned.

4th and Seymour

The first location I went to was located at the old Kamloops Daily News site at 4th and Seymour. It is now a parking lot and hopefully, in the future, will be a new arts centre. I thought each piece was just going to be a selection of sounds but I was surprised and happy that this particular location featured O’Fee improvising on the piano with the sound of typewriter keys frantically playing over top. The typewriter keys in that location told us what was happening in our community and in the world. Their sound is missed in an age where often people don’t take the time to stop and think and choose their words with care. Computers are fine, but sometimes they are too fast for deep thoughts and analysis. The layers of sound, which also include the sound of the demolition of the building, are carefully thought out and crafted.

Dying flowers overlook the parking spaces where the Daily News once was

200 block of Victoria St.

The next place I went was on the 200 block of Victoria Street where O’Fee explored the percussive potential of different objects surrounding the location of the box. I can just picture out in the middle of the night tapping on stones, walls, iron gates, and the nearby bike rack. I met a gentleman with headphones who was also taking part in the artwork and we had a nice chat which made the experience even more special.

The Red Bridge

My third stop was at the Red Bridge near the pedestrian walk way. Very close to where her childhood home was, this stop was rich in family history and as I heard child speaking Italian I could almost feel the warmth of a house. It left me a bit haunted about my own childhood and my dad who passed away a year ago. The sounds of birds were breathtaking.

Riverside Park

My final stop was at Riverside Park where a large group of Canada Geese were guarding the post with the box and the QR code attached. After some negotiation I was allowed to approach and scan the code. O’Fee’s piano and percussion improvisation showed up again and the sounds of water running and splashing from the end of the summer when swimmers were still in inspired a bright and nostalgic feeling. An added bonus was a violinist playing near the playground.

I noticed at each of these locations that I was hyper aware of the sounds around me. Traffic, voices, leaves rustling, footsteps – I felt like I was hearing some of them for the first time. It made me think about sound design in film and how much sound can affect what is normally a visually dominant world. I really loved this experience and I hope O’Fee and other local musicians create more work like this in the future.

It’s been a really long time since I did a blog post but I really needed somewhere to collect my thoughts today and this seemed like the best place. There will probably be more in the future. It turns out I missed it.

I’m sort of famous! My not so secret love of pens.

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here

A month or so ago I was asked by Goulet Pens to offer some insight into why I, as a writer, love fountain pens. They were talking to six writers to be included in a blog and I was lucky enough to be one of them. I had to think about it because it’s really something I’ve loved without really thinking about why.

 

Authors Blog Copy

here is the link

I’ve always loved pens and paper. Holding a pen and making lists or notes is comforting 20180918_180510 (2)to me. If I can’t sleep or if I’m anxious then a blank paper and a good list can calm me right down. But for years I resisted fountain pens. I thought they would leak all over, and be a lot of work. My brother, Dan, loves them, and my friend Dani is a huge fountain pen fan. I was starting to feel a bit left out. I decided to quietly try a fountain pen to see what it was like. There is no pen store in Kamloops, where I live, so I went to Michaels and bought a cheap plastic Schaeffer calligraphy pen on a whim. I started to use it to write Morning Pages (3 pages of constant writing every morning) and I was thrilled to discover how smooth they wrote and how fast my hand moved across the page. It felt so free. I was instantly smitten and had to eat a bit of crow when I admitted my new love to Dan and Dani. I believe I may have acted like I was the first person ever to discover them but they have since forgiven me. We now share notes on favourite pens, ink and paper. It’s become a bit of an addiction.

I know a lot of authors use fountain pens for their first drafts. I remember a quote from Robertson Davies, one of my favourite authors, who said he wrote by hand because he wasn’t tempted to edit right away. This is exactly what I love about writing by hand. I don’t judge my words so harshly. I’m not tempted to erase them before they have a chance to breathe.

I have a favourite pen (a Pilot Metropolitan with a fine nib) for editing. It always has red ink. I have a Jinhao and a Parker that are my desk pens and are filled with Noodler’s Black ink. I have a Lamy Al Star (Lime green with turquoise ink), a Lamy Safari (matt blue “Petrol” with dark blue ink) and a white and purple Monteverde with purple ink for all my notes and creative writing. Dan gave me the Monteverde. Dani gave me a Claire Fontaine coil notebook, which I love, because she wanted me to try real paper. It is amazing. I need more.20180918_181024 (2)

To be mentioned in a blog by Goulet pens has boosted my status in my pen-loving circle quite significantly which is awesome! I think my brother is still coming to terms with it.

I’m planning to add to my pen / ink / notebook collection soon. I need to commemorate writing / directing and producing my first short film. Then I’ll need another set as a reward for finishing my next screenplay. The list goes on and on and on…

Daughter for Sale – available for viewing

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On set – Daughter for Sale (Justice Unleashed)

Update – the link is no longer available 

OK this is pretty cool. My first movie of the week, Daughter for Sale (Lifetime, US) is now available for Canadians to view via Youtube. Not sure who has uploaded it, or if it will last, but finally my friends and family can watch it. Now, remember, they can do (and did do) whatever they wanted after I handed in the script and it is a low budget Movie of the Week. Still, it’s pretty cool to see my name in the credits.

Dangerous Designs is the next Movie of the Week – I have no idea when that will be filmed. There are other irons in the fire as well but I won’t report on them till they actually become something.

 

The pen and ink addiction is real!

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I am falling in love with handwriting again! Now that I’ve found fountain pens that feel good to write with I can’t stop. Now I have to get my handwriting to look as good as the pen and the ink! I’m on a quest!

This is the Lamy Al-Star in Charged Green (the special 2016 colour) and Waterman Mysterious Blue Ink. It’s the first bottle of ink I’ve ever owned. I’ll start posting more as I pursue my quest for pens, ink, and beautiful handwriting!

 

5K Foamfest – Getting muddy again

Or … how to not take care of skinned knees

 

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I am known for my outstanding coordination and grace… Not!

Trail running 101… don’t tempt fate!

In early June of last year I did the unthinkable and inexcusable… I had a really bad fall while trail running in the Lac Du Bois grasslands. Why inexcusable? I had an event (Foam Fest at Sun Peaks) a week away so I should have been wrapped in psychic bubble wrap to prevent getting injured. I also tempted fate by saying to my friend Jody right before I fell, “I love this trail because I don’t feel like I’m about to fall!”…. BOOM!

We think I tripped over a rock although it happened so fast nobody is sure what happened. I went down so hard and so fast my hands didn’t even have time to react and brace my fall – they never touched the dirt. All the force went directly onto my knees… and my left knee in particular. Why is this unthinkable? It was an easy trail and I hadn’t fallen for a few months so …. back to tempting fate. I actually do fall a fair amount when I run. Oddly I don’t fall when I cross country ski, but running is a different ball game.

So, there I was rolling around on the trail screaming in pain and bleeding. I was screaming so loud Gerry, who runs ahead of us with headphones on and doubles back to check on us, heard me and immediately sprinted back. I decided I could walk back – not many options anyway. By the time I got home I could feel the swelling. I went to my chiropractor / sports guy and he confirmed that he thought it was a sprain and the standard rest / ice / elevation combo would do the trick. Hmmm… Ice was no problem. Rest? Hmmmm…. I had Foam Fest the next weekend and then I was doing a solo backpack to Egypt Lake a few weeks later. Hmmm…. The nightly swelling my left knee actually lasted for months.

 

I had also been invited to visit the set of the Movie if the Week I wrote. Trying to make a good professional impression wearing shorts because fabric touching the scab was seriously unpleasant. The timing for this injury was seriously unpleasant.

The biggest thing I was worried about was Foam Fest at Sun Peaks. It was our second time doing Foam Fest. We have a huge team and I was really looking forward to it. I knew my knees would get trashed in the mud, water, and on the obstacles so I was looking for a solution to keep the sores dry and protect them. I knew the sprain would probably get worse (bad me) but I thought I’d just rest and ice more later to make up for it (very bad me).

My solution!

Ok, this is not a blog post about what worked or what one should try in a similar situation, this is purely for entertainment purposes and to teach the lesson… DON’T DO AS I DO!!!!

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Supplies for high performance athletes (not!)… note the diapers (cue foreshadowing music)

 

Honestly, I thought these ingredients would work to protect my knee. I had high hopes for the infant diapers. Sliding my leg in sideways and taping it all up should work… right?

Remember that saying that Duct Tape is good for everything but ducts? Wrong!

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Foam Fest – Race Day!

So, since I really am that graceful, I fell on my knee and ripped the diaper before the race even started. Yup, that felt good! (not!)

Our team – Revenge of the MudMonsters, was awesome as usual. We had a blast and can’t wait for this year. My knee? It got thrashed. My ingenious solution to my knee issue didn’t even last through the first obstacle. Bending it in weird angles to crawl over fences or rope ladders was excruciating. I survived.

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Mudmonsters… all clean and pretty!

 

 

2016-06-18 | 2016 5k Foam Fest Sun Peaks

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So, the moral of this story is Foam Fest is awesome and diapers and duct tape won’t protect injured knees. See you in June of 2017… must remember to put bubble wrap on my calender!