Short note

This weekend was “family time” — wonderful to have the grand-kids sleep over. But sad to lose a precious niece.

Today was a bit of a mix-up, with me feeling so emotional. But I did get my Monday “admin” items completed finally, did my tutoring, lots of tutoring reports and preps, and a wee bit of editing.

Freebie Friday again

freebiesYesterday evening I had fun working through some Gimp tutorials . . . and am looking forward to using what I’ve learned–with some excellent help from Shelby, thank you!–to label the photos on my website to make the posts more easily accessible.

Today I added a post to my “My Church Journey” site; I also added some “Friday Freebie” items on — fun “Read and Do” activity suggestions, and two free downloads of reading comprehension activities for some Scooby Doo titles.

I did some tutoring with one of my regular students, as well as spend a couple hours helping out a local young man with his journalism writing skills. He is developing his own local news online site–good for you, Jordan!

I sat in on a live webinar from Verbal to Visual, and used some of the visual note-taking skills I’ve been learning there to write a fun “rebus” type letter to my grand-kids; I’ve also been using visual note-taking sketching to develop learning activities for my young tutoring students.

And my aunt, who I haven’t seen for ages, dropped by to visit for a couple hours. An awesome surprise!

Focus on blogs

blog updateThe past couple days I have been focusing on improving my blogs.  One big update was at, where I changed to a different WordPress theme–and while I was at it, discovered that at some point I had written a bunch of draft posts, and totally forgot about them. So I’ve started editing the posts, and digging through my photos for images that work with each post. I’ve been getting tips from various people about how to make the site more accessible, like labeling the pictures which comprise the front page and actually are links to the posts. Since I don’t have any decent graphics software, I’ve been directed to check out Gimp, and now will be on a big learning curve to figure that out.  I’ve wanted for a long time to become more tech-savvy when it comes to graphics, so I’m actually looking forward to this new adventure.

I also did some work on the blog on my website.  Unbelievable as it might seem, I never bothered to use categories for my posts, even though the blog covers a variety of topics. What on earth was I thinking (or not thinking!)?  Anyway, I have gone through all my posts, and have created categories for all of them–which are now listed on the sidebar, which should make searching the site much easier. I’ve also put up links to my social media and a “subscribe by email” widget as well. About time.  Oh, and links to my main other websites.  I must have been in a haze when I set up the site!

Oh! In my last post I mentioned I had sent copies of a “letter to the editor” to 3 local newspapers. I’m happy to report I’ve been getting some pretty amazing responses from readers 🙂

Winter weather brain freeze

It has to be the weather–right? I mean, I really, really need an excuse for not posting my daily update here for 5 days! It’s been cloudy-gray, dull, chilly (below freezing) for days now. How could I do any creative writing in weather like this? Right? Okay, now I feel better 🙂

Actually, I’ve just been busy. Thursday I posted a new item on my site; then went for coffee with one of my writing friends (who inspired me to take a note I wrote on Facebook, and refine and shrink it to send to some of the local papers as a letter to the editor–which I did on Friday; three edits later, with her help, I am pretty pleased with it, and am waiting to see if any of the papers pick it up. I used to write newspaper columns years ago, but haven’t done it for so long that I’ve kind of lost my nerve!). I also spent 3 hours helping a friend prepare a proposal for her Master’s thesis.

Friday started out with writing 9 pages in my journal at 5:30 a.m.  My morning writing plans went astray when one of the people in our complex noticed the trailer hitch on his truck had gone missing overnight; since I am the strata council member with access to the security cameras, we spent time searching for evidence. I also had two tutoring students on Friday.  And went to a book launch to pick up copies of a new anthology which features one of my poems. And proofread the Master’s thesis proposal. Oh, and of course, did that editing of the “letter to the editor” which I already mentioned.

Saturday I attended two workshops at the Okanagan School of the Arts. The first focused on self-publishing, and in particular, how to prepare manuscripts for Print on Demand. The second, also on self-publishing, focused on preparing Word manuscripts for ebooks. Then we had the grand-kids over for some help with their school work.

Sunday really was a “day of rest,” thank goodness! I needed it!

Today, I had 3 tutoring students (plus reports and preps). And being Monday, I did my weekly admin tasks. I also wrote a letter to the kids and grand-kids. I have been working through the book, Writing Life Stories: How to Make Memories Into Memoirs, Ideas into Essays, and Life Into Literature, by Bill Roorbach. A while back, I did an exercise in which I created a map of my childhood neighborhood (when I was 5 to 7 years of age) from my viewpoint at that age ; today, I started writing stories based on the map. The first story was about my first day of school; I learned some things about myself by thinking about and writing it!

As we are a bit short of cash this Christmas, my husband and I were trying to think of what we could do that would be special for our kids and grand-kids–and we have come up with a great idea that involves us doing some co-writing. I’m not going to say more right now, because it’s a Christmas surprise after all. But we did get started on it today! I’m excited!

Schedules can be changed right?

messed up scheduleI have been getting stressed about not sticking to my schedule–but have realized that life isn’t that predictable, and it really isn’t a huge deal if schedules get changed from time to time. Certainly not something to get stressed over. Go with the flow! Even if my planner looks like a bomb dropped in it. I’ve taken to writing my daily plans in one color–and then the things I actually do in another color … and then I lost one of my colored pens, and had to use yet another color. At least I obviously lead a colorful life!

Yesterday, I had 5 relatively small editing jobs, a review to write, and an article to write–all short-notice jobs from clients, which of course kind of messed up my neatly planned blog post schedule, including my daily blog update. But work is work, and I’m grateful for it. Tutoring, too.

Today was more “scheduled” — sort of. I had to drive hubby to an hour and a half appointment, and while waiting for him sat there in the waiting room with my laptop balanced on my knee, and managed to get some of my scheduled writing done. A last-minute cancellation from a tutoring student was balanced by another short-notice edit, and I even managed to get two different blog posts done (this being the third) today. And then tutoring students most of the afternoon.



Windows 10

Lots of company and a fun birthday gathering for my hubby this weekend … so not a lot of “business.”

I did, however, take a deep breath, and a prayer, and (after making sure everything was backed up), loaded Windows 10 onto my laptop (I had Windows 7 previously). Everything seemed to go fine, and other than taking a while to find where certain things are located, I’m pretty pleased with the new OS.  Except that my camera won’t load pictures onto the computer now! Very frustrating! I guess I’ll have to get one of my techie family members to see what the problem is.

While I was at it, I also updated my Kobo reader/tablet which I haven’t used for a long time. I discovered there are lots of cool new things there, too 🙂  It will be handy for social media, and also for checking how my websites/blogs look on a smaller size screen.  (But I don’t have a cell phone! Can you believe it? Guess I’ll have to check out my sites on someone else’s phone, since I have chosen not to have a mobile phone at this point — and yes, I did have one before).

I did get my usual Monday “admin” items done–though they took me longer than usual, as I had to spend some time figuring out the new Windows. I also had 3 students today. And oh! I got a new t-shirt! Our daughter mail-ordered her dad a shirt for his birthday–and the one that arrived was a lady’s medium in a rather feminine print rather than the men’s X-large with a First Nations print! The company is sending the right shirt, and said we can have both shirts for the price of the one. My daughter says, “Two gifts in one–score! Awesome!”  I agree 🙂


This is where I hang out!

Pen and Paper Mama Services Office

Pen and Paper Mama Services Office

This is where I hang out … Tutoring my students, editing, writing, studying and learning: my little corner of the world.  Oh yes… and sketching, exercising, making music … and a perfect spot for having the grand-kidlings sleep over when I switch out the table & chairs for the air mattress!

What did I do yesterday? Journaling and Common Prayer; re-read my notes on platform-building and blogging, and plan for the future; learn more about effectively using the social media sites I’m on (Facebook,  Google +, Twitter, LinkedIn); write and snail mail letters to my grand-kids; tutor 2 students; help a friend prepare her proposal for her Master’s Degree thesis; participate in a weekly Verbal to Visual seminar … and the usual everyday things like exercises, laundry, meals, mid-day naanii nap, grocery shopping.  Two things I didn’t get to: my daily update (which I’m doing now!) and my Friday Freebie post on my penandpapermama site (which I’ll be doing right after this).

What does your corner of the world look like? What do you do there?

To-Do List ready to go

to do listOver the past year or two I have taken a number of online webinars, podcasts, and blog challenges, such as those offered by Charlene Kingston at her Social Media DIY Workshops, the recent 2015 October Platform Challenge offered by Robert Lee Brewer at Writers’ Digest, Darren’s Rowse’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog podcast in July 2015. I have also been taking writing, editing, and publishing workshops from our local Shatford Center Okanagan School of the Arts, as well as reading many interesting books, participating in our local writers’ group, and more. Over that time, I have collected copious notes, which I recently sorted and organized in a fat binder! But while it is well-organized, it is a bit overwhelming. So what I have been doing over the past few days is reading through all my notes, and picking out things that I really want to do to improve my business, my websites and blogs, my tutoring, and my social media use. First I highlighted the notes in the binder, then I hand-wrote the key ideas from the highlights (handwriting really gets it into my brain!), and then I finally typed out my new detailed “to-do” notes and organized them in a slim duo-tang folder. Whew! Now I feel like I can really “get to it.” Five hours of work today to finish it up, but well worth it!

I also took Charlene Kingston’s most recent workshop today, on using images on your websites, blogs, social media, etc. This is a topic that I have always backed away from–but today’s workshop convinced me that I really can learn to do this! Along with the inspiration I’ve gotten from Jacki Kellum’s blog design posts (see my post from yesterday), I’m ready to leap into developing some good basic design skills, too.

I posted another “reflection,” Early School Lessons,  on my Haida Gwaii Building Bridges blog, drawn from an assignment I did for the course I took this spring from UBC/EdX called “Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education.” I am pleased to see already that I have likes and even shares on Facebook for this post.

And a happy birthday to my husband today!


Getting inspiration for my blah site

blahEvery time I come to this website, I feel BLAH!!! because it has such a blah picture at the top and such a blah design! But never fear–I am getting all kinds of great ideas from Jacki Kellum’s sites! If you have the website blahs and need inspiration, check out her hub website, Jacki Kellum Juxtapositions, where she posts all kinds of great design ideas. I’m really looking forward to trying out her instructions. She also has a number of other sites, including a poetry blog, a 12 month WordPress Pro “Steps to Set up a WordPress blog” blog, and other great items. Thanks, Jacki!

Speaking of poetry, I wrote another rhyming ditty for my spelling book, this one on the topic of “Blends.” I’ve had a couple of folks check it out and it had them laughing–which is the point: I want to make spelling fun.

Wednesday is my busiest tutoring day, so a lot of my time today was doing that (followed by the usual e-reports and prep for the next lesson for each student). I just got asked to tutor “core French,” which I haven’t done for quite a while, so I’ll be busy for the next few days digging through my boxes of materials and getting prepared.




Pretty much back on schedule

letter_email_writingRainy, windy, chilly day! A perfect chance to stay inside and get things caught up 🙂  Well, I mostly stayed inside. The wind and rain drove the tarp off my garden and patio supplies, so I had to go out and rearrange it and tie it down tightly for the winter. I also was invited over to a neighbour’s house to check out all the stuff he’s been sorting and clearing. He’ll be taking most of it to Sally Ann, but offered me the chance to check through it first. I did get a few treasures–and he even made me a cup of hot chocolate after I arrived wet and windblown after walking over there 🙂

I decided after a wild weekend on Facebook, with people disagreeing with me quite “strongly” about my viewpoints on the attacks in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, etc., and on the refugee situation, and so on (and especially my viewpoints about Christian reactions)–that I was going to lay low for a while, and keep my thoughts to myself. Then I woke up this morning, and wrote 9 pages in my journal–and posted a good chunk of it on My Church Journey blog.

I also answered quite a lot of email letters today–I really do love writing letters.  When I was young, snail mail was the only kind of mail, and I was brought up in a letter-writing family. My friends and I used to have competitions to see who could write the longest “headache letters”–we’d try for at least 15 pages in length, and tape an aspirin at the top for the reader to take in self-defense before reading.  I wrote to lots of Canadian and American friends, and even some in other places like Japan. Pen-pals! Do pen-pals even exist anymore?  Well, I still write quite long email letters, and I’ve taken up writing weekly family letters (email) to my 5 children’s families, and I try to also send snail mail packages to all my grand-kids (yep, 9 of them) at least every week or two.

I did several “schedule catch-up” items today, including replying to letters sent to the BCHLA (BC Home Learners Association) website, my weekly book-keeping, and my weekly computer filing and backup.  I also typed up some handwritten future blog posts I’ve composed in my journal over the past couple weeks.  It seems I’m in a more creative mode when I hand write. Well, I am, after all, “Pen and Paper Mama!”

I enjoyed a wonderful long Skype session from my daughter and her kids and hubby in Alberta. We’re going to be trying out the new Facebook video chat next time.  Lots of fun!

Just one tutoring student today.  And now my daily wrap-up.  Oh! And I managed to fit in my 1/2 hour daily “nannii nap” today, after missing it 4 or 5 days in a row. I really do function much better if I get that mid-day rest.  (“Nannii” is the Haida word for “grandmother.”)