Monday, February 19, 2007

Winter break is here...

I was sitting at the kitchen table the other day & was struck by the juxtaposition of items stuck to the fridge :)

We muddled through the end of last week fairly unscathed. I caught the upper-respiratory bug that Brendan had going into the class play, so things were a bit hairier than expected, but I'm feeling really proud of myself because I managed my energies well enough that Brendan & I didn't butt heads as we usually do when I'm low-energy. So far, so good... :)

Friday was going to be a tough day, though- I had agreed to do a spinning demo at Brendan's best friend's school in the late morning & would have been looking forward to it except that I was really under the weather. Plus, Tomoko's out of town for 2 of our Saturday lessons because she's interviewing for doctoral programmes all over the place, so we'd decided to have her join us for my usual Friday afternoon japanese lesson with Brendan at school. She has applied to do some substitute teaching at school, since she's done with her master's work & is waiting for graduation & then a stint back in Japan before coming back to the US to begin her doctorate, & would like to work (she's waitressing, too). Everybody at school is excited about the prospect of having Tomoko subbing there (especially Brendan), so we thought we'd follow up our lesson with a tour of the school & various introductions.

Sooo... by Thursday afternoon I decided that I wasn't sick enough to email the teacher I was doing the spinning demo for & tell her I couldn't come, & had started getting excited about doing it (as I often do- I really love demonstrating handspinning to kids :). I gathered up all of my various things to show (garments made from handspun, fibres from a variety of animals, tools) & baskets to carry them it, & was looking for the bag that I sometimes carry my wheel in (it collapses to an easier carrying shape, although it's still really heavy) when I found some really gorgeous wool I'd purchased a couple of years ago. Something clicked in my mind, so I hauled the wool out, too, along with the carry bag.

Getting Brendan out of bed on Friday morning went easier than usual because it was the last day before break & because Tomoko was coming to school in the afternoon. It was such a relief to have him in a good mood, & a blessing because I wasn't frazzled before we even got in the car & so had the energy to cope with the rather horrid driving conditions- 2 days after the snow storm! (I think it was more people on the road that made things really bad, compared to Thursday...) After doing my door greeting & getting Brendan settled, I zoomed home to iron my 1870's dress & apron for the demo, got dressed, put up my hair, loaded up the car, & was off to the demo. They were having colonial days (the 4th grade at this school does this unit at the same time every year) so many of the kids were dressed-up as well. I joked with the teacher that, if she plans to have me demo every year I'll have to make a colonial costume (this was my second time demonstrating for colonial days). There were 40 kids gathered around, including a friend of Brendan's from Sunday School (a nice surprise), & they were great. Attentive, with a lot of questions & also kind to the samples that I passed around for them to see & feel up close. After about 50 mintues I packed it all up, zoomed home, changed clothes & wolfed down a piece of pizza, & 15 minutes later Tomoko was at the door (!).

We hopped in my car & drove to school (the roads had finally been cleared & the drive was almost pleasant...). Brendan greeted us by shouting Tomoko's name & then excitedly introducing her to everyone in sight :) Paula, our friend & director of the school, kindly let us have our lesson in her office while she worked (space is at a premium & so people get used to sharing). We played some games to help us to remember adjectives & then it was time to show Tomoko around school. When we left school we took Brendan with us, & when we got home we hugged Tomoko goodbye & wished her well with her interviews. Brendan & I went in & had snack & then I collapsed on the sofa while he played Adventure Quest &, after his timer went off, he went upstairs to play. I was pretty exhausted but managed to put some dinner together for us (Grammie was still too sick to come over) & then Charlie pretty much took over. We watched a couple of episodes of "Pee Wee's Playhouse" from the dvd set I'd given Charlie for Christmas before bed & Rachel Carson had Brendan asleep within 10 minutes :)

Charlie & Brendan had decided to make it an early morning on Saturday & go work on the snow fort some before breakfast (allowing me to sleep-in undisturbed- those angels!). The snow fort is a neighbourhood project- there is a small, triangular park in the middle of our road, where it splits into a "Y", & the snow plows deposit snow at the tip of the "Y" that makes a very good base for digging & tunneling. Brendan & the other neighbourhood boys of around the same age discovered this a couple of winters ago, but last winter there wasn't any snow to speak of, causing great disappointment. So this winter the snow fort has been a continuing group project, particularly since the snow keeps falling & filling-in the tunnels so they need to be re-made. My guys had wanted to get back out there because Brendan had a school friend coming over later in the morning & they wanted to have some of the tunnels re-started so it would be more fun to play in. They were out from about 7:00 to 8:30, then came back for breakfast just about the time I was up & getting ready to eat.

After getting home from the demo yesterday, I had set my wheel back up & got out the coulourful wool I'd found. When I weighed the wool I decided I probably had enough to make yarn for new mittens, which I really need. So after breakfast on Saturday I got to work. One of the things I really love about demos or teaching workshops is that they really spark me to get to work on my own projects. Last April I taught a shawl workshop for the knitting guild & I have produced probably 15-20 shawls since then... When I did that demo at Brendan's school a few weeks ago, after the llama visit, I realised how much I'd been missing spinning on the wheel, so I left it out in the living room where I could get at it more easily. The coloured wool spun beautifully with minimal pre-drafting & the colours were so beautiful as they slipped through my fingers. Here's the bobbin part-way filled, with some of the loose roving beside it:

Brendan's school buddy & his mom arrived around 10:30, so she & I chatted while Charlie & the boys took off for the snow fort. It was a nice opportunity for his mom & me to catch up. Both our boys have been at Cobblestone since first grade, although not always in the same class. They both have AS & so we, as families, have a lot in common, plus we live within a mile of each other! However, it's never been an easy thing to get these guys together, since their "strong" interests have never really dovetailed & this has prevented them from having much to say to each other over the years. Brendan had actually figured out that this kid also had AS & it's been a comfort to him, I think, knowing there's another kid in his class that is dealing with similar things. They both had lead roles int he class play, so Charlie thought it would be fun to get them together to play, then go to a community theatre production of "Oliver!" in the afternoon. So, after a lunch of ramen (something both boys really love these days), they all went off to the play & I stayed home & went to bed for a few hours, still feeling pretty under the weather.

Charlie & Brendan came home with mixed reviews of the play- both Brendan & his friend had been appalled by the treatment of the orphans in the play, so they hadn't gotten caught-up in the fun or the music as much as other kids might have. Charlie thought it was a great performance, with lots of really good local talent. (Brendan's opinion has mellowed over the past couple of days, actually, as he remembers particularly fun scenes & songs.) After a snack, Brendan really wanted to go back to the snow fort, so Charlie ordered pizza for dinner, left the money by the door for me to pay the delivery person, then they went back out. I happily spun my pretty wool & popped a "Fruits Basket" dvd in the laptop, japanese with no subtitles, to see how much I could get by ear... The pizza finally arrived & I thought the guys should have seen the delivery car, but they didn't come in. I waited by the front window, wondering if I should go out, when I finally say them walking up the sidewalk. When they came in, Brendan was crying... He'd had a nasty scare. He went feet-first into one of the tunnels, but for some reason (we suspect motor-planning stuff) he bent his knees rather than going straight in & got really stuck. Charlie had to get help from a neighbour to dig him out & he was stuck for about 10 minutes. Poor kid! He kept saying that he thought he was going to die, & had me in tears when he said he was afraid he'd die before he saw Rufus again... We assured him that this was the reason he never goes alone to the snow fort & that dad would never have allowed him to die... He was one huggy kid for the rest of the evening. Some more "Pee Wee" before bed finally got him smiling again.

Sunday morning was a blur... I didn't really want to go to church -I'd started coughing overnight & felt kind of rotten- but both of my Sunday School class kids were going to be there & Charlie had a meeting after church, so I would have to bring Brendan home. And there was choir practise & we were singing a neat song (the South African national anthem, in Zulu!), so I got myself together & held it together through church, lunchtime, & early afternoon until Charlie came home. Brendan had a good time in Sunday School & was happily plugged into AQ after lunch, so it wasn't hard to do. I got to sleep some more in the afternoon & felt well enough after dinner to ply the bobbin of colourful wool (it all fit on one bobbin) & skein & wash it. Here's the finished skein:

Whee! Mittens ho!

And a good start to break week... We got a lazy start this morning & plan to re-watch the 4th InuYasha movie this afternoon. Tomorrow Brendan gets to spend the afternoon with his best friend (& I get to visit with his mom :). Wednesday Charlie's home & Cherie, Brendan's consultant teacher, is coming over to stay with Brendan in the afternoon while we parental units go to see Brendan's psychologist, so he's really psyched about that. It's shaping up for a good balance of activities & relaxation!

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At 2:51 PM, Blogger mcewen said...

Just to mention that I stand gob smacked [translation = in awe] of your ability to stick a link in a comment box, oh great and mighty one!

Happy Presidents Day!

At 8:13 PM, Blogger kristina said...

I once wrote a post and tried out the weaving metaphor (thinking of Penelope) but you are actually demonstrating as you go! Love the color of the wool become yarn.


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