Monthly Archives: July 2013

In the dark

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electricity

electricity (Photo credit: Terry Freedman)

Last night we arrived at the cottage to discover the power was out.  It was 11 pm, we were all tired from a full day at camp/work, followed by a nearly 4 hour drive. We quickly located several flashlight and Mr. Magic (aka M’s dad) checked the fuse box to see if by chance, the most recent visitors (my mother and brother) had accidentally turned it off – given that there was still food in the refrigerator, it didn’t seem likely. His smart phone still was working and he was able to check the power company’s website and determined that the power was out in a large number of communities across the province. No big surprise, after a series of intense a thunderstorms earlier that afternoon. According to the website, our power wasn’t expected to be restored until Sunday – at least a day and a half away. We were expecting company on Saturday morning, but figured that they might not be interested in coming once they found out we had no electricity. It was too late to call, so we planned to call them in the morning before they left and let them know.

M seemed to be ok with the lack of electricity, until he found out that it might be another 24 hours before it was restored. Then he got upset and started asking to go home, saying he “couldn’t live without power.”  What would he do with himself if he couldn’t play MindCraft on the computer?

Given the lateness of the hour, neither Mr.Magic nor I were particularly sympathetic. M refused to go to bed, proclaiming “he couldn’t sleep, knowing there was no electricity.” Since we were both exhausted, all we wanted to do was go to bed. We dragged out suitcases in from the car and rummaged around to find pjs and toiletry cases.

We were in the cottage for a good 15 minutes before Mr. Magic discovered some candles on a shelf (hard to see when it’s pitch black and you’re not looking for them).  He lit them, which made a big difference. We quickly rounded up some others and suddenly the dark, uninviting cottage became quite cozy. I wouldn’t recommend taking out your contact lenses by candle light as a general practice, but it works in a pinch.

After a good night’s sleep, we woke up to the news that the power wasn’t scheduled to be restored until 11  pm the next day. We called our guests and they decided to come anyway. M was rummaging through a box of junk sitting on a shelf (the same shelf that held the candles) and found a gadget that contained, among other things, a little knife. He wandered outside and returned with a stick. “Can I whittle/” he asked?  I clearly remember that when my brothers and my cousin’s were M’s age, they spent a fair amount of time playing with pocket knives and pieces of wood, so I didn’t have a problem with him trying his hand at it. He spent at least 90 minutes out on the deck, happily whittling. He cut his finger at one point, but once it was bandaged up, he was right back at, knife in one hand, stick on another.

The power came on a short while later. Turns out the wind had blown a tree down on the wires not far from our cottage. M and his dad wandered down the road to watch the crew cut down the branch and fix the line.  Once he got back into the cottage, M made a bee-line for hos DS and started playing a game.

As inconvenient as it would have been to prepare meals for 6 people using only a BBQ, I was a bit disappointed that the power came back on so quickly. Without access to his games, M would have had to rely on his imagination to keep himself occupied. I have no doubt he would have done just fine.

Maybe if have another bad storm and the electricity gets knocked out, he”ll have another opportunity. We’ve put at least one candle in every room, just in case.

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Bead Hoarders Blog Hop

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Earlier this spring, I participated in my first Bead Soup Blog Hop, organized by Lori Anderson. It was lots of fun and I ended up with 2 new necklaces and a bracelet. So when Lori put out the word about the Bead Hoarder’s Blog Hop, I jumped at the chance to participate.  I would get the opportunity to use some of my own bead stash, and also check out the designs from a group of talented beaders.

In my enthusiasm about participating in another bead blog hop, I didn’t pay much attention to the reveal date. I knew it was July 20, but I didn’t think through what else I had on my plate in early July – replacing my boss at work (plus doing my own job); weekend house guests; and the adjustment to a summer schedule (end of school and driving M back and forth to camps). Add to the fact that I caught my husband’s cold and was under the weather for a better part of a week and as the reveal date approaches, I haven’t made a single piece. The irony is that I’ll be on holidays for the next 2 weeks, which will give me lots of time to dive into my stash and do some serious beading.

However, I did want to at least finish one project. I was rooting through one of my several bead boxes and came across an unopened package of memory wire. There were also a number of loose beads rolling around the bottom of the box. A peek into a few more boxes and containers turned up more loose beads.

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Plus, I’ve got a box that only contains odds and ends.

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By stringing the beads onto a generous length of memory wire, I had a snazzy new bracelet – the bottom-of-the-bead-box cuff.

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I finished one end of the bracelet with a dragonfly charm and a wrapped dangle that I found in my box of strays -a  leftover from a previous project.

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The finished bracelet wraps around my wrist 5 times, which gives it a nice chunky look, without being very heavy.  I don’t feel like my arm is weighted down when I’m wearing it.

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My colour palette was  fairly subdued – blues, pinks, purples with some metal and clear beads mixed  in and the occasional shot of red or yellow. I used a variety of beads in different sizes and textures.  I added crystals (for a little extra bling), a small felt bead and a couple of vintage moonglow lucite beads to the mix . Big bonus – it goes with just about everything in my summer wardrobe.

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Despite the fact that I only managed to make one piece, I made a good dent in my stash. If I make a few more (and maybe get ahead on my Christmas list?), I’ll have made good progress in my on-going battle to organize my beading supplies.

I’m going to work on a few more pieces while I’m on holidays, in between hopping around to see what other designers have created from their personal supplies.

Great graduation

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Philomathean Society Graduation Diploma For Is...

Philomathean Society Graduation Diploma For Isaac Norton Jr., 1858. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

M graduated from Grade 6 last week. In September, he’ll start Grade 7 at a new school.

If you’d asked me 3 or 4 years ago, if he would finish elementary school in the public system, I probably would have been skeptical. M was in 3 different schools in Grade 1 alone. I couldn’t tell you how many times he was suspended in both Grade 3 and 4 – usually  for 2-3 days at a time and almost always for hitting/punching/kicking another child. I remember one particularly brutal period, when the suspension ran into PD days and holidays and he was out of school for nearly 10 days. On more than one occasion, my mother came to town to look after M when he wasn’t at school. I got so many calls from the school, that every time my office phone rang, I could feel my blood pressure shooting up.  To this day, I always feel a frisson of anxiety if my phone rings between 9 am (when I usually get to work) and 2:30 pm (when school lets out). Talk about Pavlov’s dog.

During this period, M’s dad and I were summoned to meeting after meeting with school and Board officials. While most of the professionals we encountered had good intentions, we left these meetings in a state of despair,  feeling like our child was the spawn of the devil and we were the worst parents ever.  One time we walked into the meeting room to discover 10 officials, including a police officer. His contribution to the meeting was to tell me that M could be charged with assault when he was 12.  I wasn’t at all anxious when I left that meeting.

The most frustrating thing was that every time M got suspended, he’d go back to school and nothing would have changed.  The principal identified early on that recess and transition periods were very challenging for M, but she didn’t have the resources to give him one-on-one  supervision. So M would trundle back to school after every suspension, increasingly anxious and isolated and be thrown right back into the same situations that got him into trouble the first, second and third time. The poor kid was like a hamster, going around a very dysfunctional wheel.

Finally, in Grade 5, the school was able to put in place a number of supports for M on a more-or-less permanent basis. He had an educational assistant with him almost full-time; he got scheduled breaks from class; and eventually, a computer to do his written work. The number of suspensions dropped dramatically and M started to participate in class. In previous  grades, he’d rarely completed his class assignments (unless it was math, his favourite subject), he refused less and did more.

Fast forward to the last couple of weeks of Grade 6. At the year-end Open House, M had work posted on the bulletin boards outside the class. He had lots of work to show his dad and I. Even more impressive, he was clearly present in the video his teacher put together to show case the class’s activities. Last year, he helped his teacher announce the “Recycled Fashion Show.” This year, he not only designed and sewed an outfit, he got up on stage and showed it off.

On the morning of the Grade 6 graduation, the school auditorium was filled with proud parents and extended family and friends. We were fortunate that a very dear family friend was visiting us and was able to attend the event. In keeping with the non-competitive environment of M’s school, all the Grade 6 students gave a short speech that they had prepared and written out in advance. Since M is still not a big fan of writing, his speech was  short – “I’d like to thank my parents and Ms E for always having my back.”

Brevity aside, it was a very sweet moment. He’s gone through a lot in the last few years and come out on the other side. I couldn’t be prouder of him.