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Archives | Sylvia McNicoll

Tales from the Dog Walk–Bringing Up Beauty

While walking my Jackapoo Mortie, the other day, I wore my Dog Guide shirt, something I picked up as a souvenir when I was visiting an open house day as research for one of the Beauty books, Bringing Up Beauty, A Different Kind of Beauty, Beauty Returns.  My dog met a rescue dog from one of the first nations reserves and his owner Judy Appleby and I got talking.  She asked me whether I worked at DogGuides and I told her about writing those books.
Her jaw dropped and she said that it was as a result of reading Bringing Up Beauty her family fostered Grover, a successful guide dog.  It wasn’t her two sons who had read the book, rather Judy herself read it after seeing a story on it in the newspaper.
She went on to say that Grover guided for seven years.  When he began suffering health issues, he needed to retire and her family took him back.  Coincidentally her son had been suffering from some kind of slump, a teen depression.  The dog and her son, spent long hours together just lying in front of the television, her son patting him.  After about three months both recovered.  She feels they healed each other.   I’m glad I wore the shirt that day.  

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Treasure at my Local Library-Burlington Public Library Rocks

In between books can be a dismal state for a writer.  You know you have to rewrite soon and are just waiting for the critiques to roll in.  When these do come, you dive down into a further slump of inadequacy until you get excited by the changes that improve the story magically, right before your eyes.  Well, you agonize a lot over the changes too.  Add to my present state is a constant shuttle to Montreal to visit someone close who is terminal.

Simone at Brant Hills Library with the chocolate coin treasure box

But nothing in this world can’t be improved by a good book. I asked my Facebook writers for Montreal based stories and The Hangman in the Mirror by Kate Cayley was recommended.  A 2011 publication, I had no faith in it being at bookstores, but my library had a copy.   Did I mention I was watching my grandchildren for the summer? I love Story Hour, although it’s really just story half an hour. Still thirty minutes of reading bliss!  Off we went, five year old William and three year old Jadzia and I.

My grandaughter/kittycat/pirate with a library parrot puppet

Brant Hills Public Library is a short walk from our house and we met my eldest grandson’s (Hunter) teacher and a bunch of his friends.   There’s pingpong, foosball indoors in the community centre that houses the library, outside there’s a skateboard park and tennis court.  So 11 year old Hunter joined us.

Joy of joy, the library held a pirate party after the stories.  Activities included walking a plank and landing into a blue beany chair( the ocean) working on a pirate puzzle, perusing some excellent pirate books, making a pirate hat, getting your face painted and watching a pirate cartoon, see the photo.
The Hangman in the Mirror was an excellent read!  Thank you to the librarians who helped me find it. The only copy had been misshelved.  But thank you to all the Burlington librarians and to the TD Summer Reading Programme that come up with such wonderful creative programming.  I had a blast at Pirate Day, I think the kids did too.  Cheered up I await my rewrite notices for What the Dog Showed Us.  But in the meantime I’ll read another book I found on the “Of Note” display shelves of my local library.

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Staircase Theatre: Harold in the Hammer

Live theatre and the room was filled with young as well as older audience. I guess because the tickets are well priced $10 for adults, $8 for students, close to curtain time rush seating is free. However, there were no

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seats left. This show followed on the heels of the Hamilton Fringe Festival, the plays of which we attended had plenty of seats. But again plenty of young people too. How refreshing.

Scott

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Lloyod of Flint Improv Co, gave these actors lessons for six week culminating in this spectacle.
A Harold is a segment of an improv show. The Hammer, I’m

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told, represents Hamilton. So what happens is a leader from each group HUGE Pimpin, Know Konsensus and JJJAWSS, talks to the audience introduces their members and then calls for a word to act as the theme of their performance. My daughter Jen’s group HUGE Pimpin got Canada’s Wonderland, my suggestion actually. I quite enjoyed how Jen turned into an five year old trying to be tall enough for a roller coaster. Her fellow mom improvee, Becca, became Jen’s Mom. Becca and Jen have know each other since kindergarden. The over the top physicality as well as the adlibbing provide wonderful humour.

What a great romp! But what I like most is that the arts provided enrichment for the participants as well as the audience. I think the cast had fun preparing, it’s therapy for moms usually stuck with kids and their demands all day. The audience had fun watching. And all at a price competitive to the Silver Screen.
Perhaps we’re entering a renaissance age. Step away from your iPad and computer–not until you’ve checked what’s on at Staircase Theatre. Or your own local theatre. Then enjoy some live entertainment.

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