September 1st, 2007

molotov grrl 2

mental health nurses and minor hockey

I have a supporting character who is sort of a surrogate mother for the MC. She is a mental health nurse, and I am looking for more information on her work. She sort of does counselling with the MC and encourages him to keep a journal, which is how most of the story is told. I would like to know how her typical work week would be described by someone else (ie the MC). I'm not sure if she would have an office for counselling for people to just go and see her, or if she is involved with people in hospitals, or what. I have googled "mental health nurse" and "mental health nurse canada" since most of the first brought up pages in the UK, but they are pretty vague. I sort of have an idea of her visiting several people in their homes throughout the week, checking up on their medication regimes and their therapy. Is that accurate? Or is it possible for her to be "on-call" for hospitals for when suicides or whatnot come in? Does that happen? I basically don't want any health care nurses to read my novel and be like "that's not what I do!" :-) Setting is Calgary, Alberta, Canada, present day.

Entirely different question. For boys in minor league hockey, starting from the very beginning, when do they begin body-checking? This is in Calgary, Alberta, present day. I googled "peewee hockey" and "minor league hockey" with both Calgary and Alberta as variations, but the websites are obviously set up for people who already know about hockey. I have found a few sections on checking, but nothing that just says "we let them start checking in ___ hockey, around age ___". I saw a documentary a while ago about peewee hockey on the East Coast, that had mixed boy-girl teams, but the webpages I checked out for Calgary don't seem to have mixed teams. Are there any mixed teams there? I might just be SOL on that one.

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: I should perhaps add that the character who played hockey is 17 *now*, so I assume the checking would have started about five or six years ago?

Traditional foods of Appalachia

One of the characters of a novel I'm writing is from deep, rural West Virginia. His family would be called hillbillies if his brother wouldn't shoot you for it. I'm setting a scene where a friend of his has just entered their big, ramshackle house in the woods for the first time. The friend is from the Northeast, also a country boy per se, but not the same kind of country. He's staring at what seems to be a particular obsessive-compulsive mania of the lady of the house for making jams and preserves. However, aside from blackberries and the recently ultra-chic "wild mountain ramps" that popped up in New York gastronomie a season or so ago, I'm not certain what uniquely or traditionally available fruits and vegetables are made into jams, jellies, pickles and whatnot, in the area. Also, I'm not sure what nationally/regionally typical fruit, like apples and peaches, actually grow or are popularly used in the regional fare.

This is merely to set the atmosphere and illuminate the mother character's coping mechanism, but it's a region that fascinates me regardless.

I searched for "West Virginia jams jellies", "West Virginia fruit preserve"/s, replaced "Appalachia" and "Appalachian" for WV, and poked around and read the Wikipedia article on Southern Cuisine with its actually relatively helpful paragraph on Appalachian cuisine.

I also am re-reading Homer Hickam's memoir "Rocket Boys" (made into the film "October Sky") which has great details about West Virginia coal country and growing up there, but his mother is not the same type as the one I'm writing about, plus he lives in an organized company town, not some cove high up in the mountains, where my character comes from.

EDIT: I totally neglected to mention the time setting: late 1940s. However, any information is welcome. Some of my searches turned up mail-order gourmet outfits, but they seemed to be marketing products popular for national tastes, so I wasn't sure about them.

Growing up In 19th Century Paris

My characters are two boys, one born in about 1813, the son of a baron, the other born in around 1817, the son of a count. I have some questions about what it would be like to grow up in 19th century Paris.

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I will love you forever if you can answer some of these questions. Thank you!

(By the way, these questions are for a fan fiction I’m writing. Virtual cookies for you if you can identify the fandom! ^.^)

Floating nebulous glowy thing!

museum exhibits, Scotland, 1950's

This is a rather specific question, and beyond sitting down and contacting museums/universities individually and looking through their catalogue information I'm not sure how to get this information (and honestly, for the purposes I'm using this information for it's not worth it to do that). I've tried googling 'Scotland', 'museum', 'mosasaur', 'marine reptile', and various incarnations and combinations of them, but I'm not turning up anything besides Scottish fossils housed in collections elsewhere in the world, or Loch Ness Monster stuff.

I'm trying to find out if there was a museum in Scotland in the 1950's that housed a mounted mosasaur skeleton, or at least had a good number of the bones, in something resembling anatomic order, on display. Or a VERY good, detailed scientific drawing on a mosasaur skeleton.

Bonus points if the museum also had at least a skull (or a good scientific drawing of a skull) of a pliosaur/'short-necked plesiosaur' on display.

Super bonus points if the museum also had a drawing/model of a coelacanth.

Since I'm probably looking for something that doesn't exist, is there a museum that could have housed such specimens back then? As in, I could say 'X Museum had these specimens in the 1950's' and it would sound plausible to most people.

A museum in England or Wales would work as well, but Scotland would be ideal.