Tag Archives: postaweek2011

Update

Last evening when my teenage son asked if we had any TV shows to watch, I replied “Tons”.   He then questioned how I could measure TV viewing by weight? I told him that was the relative amount of paperwork I could get done in the length of time it would take to watch all the programs I had recorded on the PVR.

In addition to my regular 55 hour work week I also had meetings and other obligations every evening last week so there was no time to keep up with regular bookkeeping chores let alone ‘down time’ to watch TV.  Add to that the fast approaching deadlines for compiling and editing the next childcare resource calendar, income tax preparations and re-licensing my childcare home the paperwork is daunting.

With that in mind I’m fighting the urge to play Angry Birds or some other equally useless waste of time.  I’ve decided to write a blog entry and, although it may not be high on the paperwork priority list, I have pledged to post at least once a week.

I’ve got several topic ideas that I desperately want to write about – particularly yesterday’s Daily Post suggestion Name a book that changed your life. What influence did it have on your thoughts, attitudes, and actions?’ However, that will take more time than I have right now so I’ll stick with something less intensive.

I want to provide a brief update on our indoor gardening adventure.

All of the herbs we had imported from our outdoor garden and most of our new seedlings succumbed to the white fly devastation.  Only the Bolivian Rainbow Pepper seedlings survived the infestation unscathed.  In fact, they seemed to flourish and had been transplanted into larger pots and were now flowering too!

In January we planted some more seeds to attempt to provide additional plants for our scant little garden.  In a month or two we’ll need to plant some so we have seedlings available for our outdoor garden when (if) the snow ever melts.

Then, yesterday as we were checking out the plants I noticed the markings on some of the leaves of our beautiful pepper plants – white fly eggs!!!  I wanted to cry.  I suspect the newly planted basil is the source of this latest invasion since they have not seemed healthy from the moment they sprouted and they are deteriorating quickly. Can seeds or soil be the infection source?  I don’t know.

It is hard to keep the children interested in gardening with so many setbacks.  Maybe growing our own food isn’t the lesson.  Teaching resiliency, determination and perseverance is.

Magic Trees

Yesterday’s topic suggestion at The Daily Post was “You’ve got a magic tree: what does it grow?”

I believe all trees are magic.

They provide shelter and serenity when we need it.

They demonstrate resiliency and determination helping us to overcome adversity.

They possess the power to inspire — creating awe and wonder and urging us to dream.

Young children know this – too many adults have forgotten.

Slow down, take a stroll through a forest and feel the magic.

Note: All these photos show trees the children and I have connected with while on nature walks in our area.

The List

At The Daily Post the topic suggestion from February 25th was “What keeps you up at night?”  My answer to that is;

The ‘To Do’ List.

This list contains a wide variety of household chores, errands, paperwork, program planning, and major projects. Occasionally this list keeps me up at night because it is stressful – too many items and not enough time or there is something on the list that I really do not want to do.

Most often though, as I lie awake contemplating the list, it is excitement that keeps me from falling asleep.  Planning the steps of a project, picturing the finished project, making changes to my plan, wondering if I should get up and write something down so I don’t forget, or maybe I should forget about sleeping and just start the project now…..

My most recent project was a little of both.  The sunroom is a multipurpose room used mainly as art space for both the preschool and school age children and as a storage area. We also use this area for various group activities and as a play area during quiet time for the children who do not nap.

It had become unorganised, was not functioning well and was causing a great deal of frustration — it was time for a major overhaul.

Knowing this was not going to be a quick fix I planned this project for the February 19-21 long weekend – and didn’t complete it.  In fact, for most of that weekend the sunroom looked like this;

Work continued this weekend and finally I think the room is beginning to resemble my vision.  As usual many of the items have been repurposed from other projects. There are still a few finishing touches – like paint and trim – that I will not be able to complete yet but the major work is done.

There are art areas that are easily accessible throughout the day and stored items are organized and out of the way of any messy art activities.

Within minutes the room can be transformed to allow for a wide variety of quiet time activities.

And I can cross another item off the list – while adding ‘paint and trim work’ and trying not to read the rest of the list.

Writing Frenzy

There have been several interesting Post A Day topic suggestions listed at The Daily Post.  I had added some of them to my already long list of post ideas but as usual time to write is the biggest issue.  So, in an effort to slim down my list of ideas I’m going to quickly provide a brief answer for some of their post suggestions.

Topic #41 Describe your dream vacation.

Exploring nature – preferably on horseback and hiking.  No beaches, boats or deep water – I don’t swim and waves are scary.  Sea creatures are interesting if there is glass between us. I’d like to stay in a cabin or cottage — not camping or in a fancy hotel.  Definitely no spa like setting – hate being ‘pampered’ but someone else must cook the meals. Can’t be too remote (see topic #37).

Topic #38 Describe the worst teacher you ever had.

Easily my Junior High gym teacher who seemed to believe that there was no excuse for not participating in gym class.  Once I stepped on a metal tent peg which pierced my running shoe and severely cut my foot.  The note my mother sent about the injury was not sufficient for this teacher and she insisted that I remove the bandage so she could see the wound herself.  She then concluded that it may be difficult to run so I could walk for the fitness test that day.  She also gave me a “0” for the entire basketball unit when I failed to sink any balls during the final test which took place when I had a sprained wrist.

Topic #37 Could you live without the internet for a week?  For a month?

Nope.  Not even a day – sometimes have trouble managing for an hour or two.

Topic #35 When teleportation is finally possible, where will you beam yourself first?

I’d only use teleportation to go to those mundane places like doctor/dentist appointments and errands.  For real outings and vacations the trip there is part of the adventure.  It’s a chance to explore and you’d miss that if you just teleported to your destination.

Topic #33 If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

I already have it.  I want to be a Family Childcare provider forever.  A bigger house and yard in an urban setting that allows chickens, ducks and goats would be wonderful though.

Topic #31-2 If you had your own reality show, what would it be called? What would it be about? Who would the main characters be?

Life in a childcare is already a combination of every reality show ever made.

Topic #31 What’s one piece of technology you can’t live without?

Only one?  It would probably have to be my laptop but the digital camera is a close second.  I’d really miss the PVR too.

Bonus topic:  What technology do you wish would disappear from the world?

Everything weapon related.

OK, so that helps to shorten my list of posts to write and counts as a Post A Week entry too.  Now my weekend is free to do other paperwork and housework – yeah!

More Snow

Snow in winter is the norm here.  Some years we get more than others but there is always an abundance of the white stuff to play with.

I like winter. I love snow. However, this year snowfall amounts are becoming excessive.  I am running out of places to put the snow that I shovel off the walkways.

The path through the garden area seems like a gorge.

The platform on our prairie hill now requires a step down and where are all the toys?

Who needs toys when you have hills and valleys, cliffs and tunnels.

So yesterday when we looked out the window during our circle time weather check there was a lot of excitement about the huge fluffy flakes filling the air and blanketing the ground.  With temperature at a balmy -5 Celsius and no wind we couldn’t wait to get outside.

For an hour we dug holes, shovelled paths, jumped and rolled until it was time to retrieve our Kindergarten friend from school.  We left a little earlier than usual because I anticipated the walk to be a slow with all the fresh snow but even I was surprised once we left the shelter of the yard.

The well-used sidewalks now had knee high drifts for the preschoolers. There was a moment of hesitation as we turned the corner and were confronted by a white curtain. ‘How will we know when we get to the school?” questioned the children when they realized they could no longer see the familiar landmarks.  Visibility had been drastically reduced by the falling snow – we we’re grateful that there were no accompanying blizzard winds.

Our regular 15 minute walk to school took us nearly half an hour.  When we arrived we heard many comments about our troop of snow people.  Joined by the kindergarten child we headed back home for lunch.

The return trip was difficult for some.  Exhaustion had begun to take over.  We’ve had enough snow.  Hurry up spring – but please don’t bring a flood.

Hope

I’ve titled today’s post after the Post A Day topic #18 “What gives you hope?”  It is not what I was originally planning to name it but I think it fits with the post I was planning to write today.

To hope means to expect, to wish, to trust and to look forward to.  It is optimism and anticipation.

I wanted to write about the boy and his guitar.

The boy is my sixteen year old son.  The boy has dreams and a special kind of motivation to pursue things that interest him.  Some of his interests have come and gone – attacked with fervour and then dismissed as he moves on to something else.

This sixteen year old has no interest in learning to drive because “there are already too many cars”.  He will not eat at any fast food restaurant because “it’s not good for you and they don’t recycle the packages”. He enjoys being considered eccentric.

The guitar is his passion. He started playing the guitar about 3 ½ years ago and I think he plays wonderfully – but I’m his mother so I’m biased. Every spare minute of his day is spent practising his guitar, learning new songs, creating his own arrangements and researching guitars and music.

His musical interest is vast.  He likes most styles except maybe pop – remember, he likes to be different.  He is inspired by Edgar Cruz and Tchaikovsky is one of his favourite classical composers.

His guitars are basic – cheap, entry level guitars for beginners.  He wanted something better and started saving his money to buy a good classical guitar. This guitar would be something he chose not one we picked up at a big box store. He has done his research and explained to me the difference between the styles – who knew there were so many?

For Christmas we topped up his savings so he would have enough to make a purchase. It wouldn’t be enough to buy his dream guitar but it would be a step up from what he had.

The Monday after Christmas we headed out to some of the music stores to see what we could find. I tended to point out guitars based on looks – the name on the guitar means nothing to me.  The boy knows though.  He often shook his head as I reached to take one off the rack – not because he didn’t like it but because he knew the price range in which it would fall was beyond our budget.

Several stores and numerous guitars and we still nothing that fit the criteria.  I was beginning to lose hope. We decided to check out Mar-schell’s a small music store in our neighbourhood.

The boy tried a few guitars and then the salesman handed him a Takamine. As he played the first few notes I saw the expression on his face – this was the one.  The boy and the guitar belonged together.  He clutched it all the way home and then began to play – really play.

The boy was up before me every morning during Christmas break.  I’d wake to the sound of the guitar – yes even I could hear the difference between this guitar and his others.

Then, on day four he decided to plug it in to his amp to see how it sounded and there was a problem.  He tried it another amp and still failed to get the results he wanted. Back at the store they checked it out and identified it as a defective pick-up.  Now we’re waiting for the replacement part.

The boy and his guitar have been separated for three weeks.  He still plays his other guitars while we wait.  Together we hope, we wish, we trust and with optimism and anticipation we look forward to the day the boy and his guitar are reunited.  Hopefully soon.

Acceptable Risk

I have surpassed my Post A Week promise as this is already my third post this week – yeah!  I’ve checked out the suggestions for post topics and some of them look really interesting but at the moment I’ve got plenty of ideas of my own.  I’ll keep them in mind for when I have a dry spell.

It has been a busy week – my regular 60 hour work week also had an additional 4 evenings of networking meetings etc which left me little time to ‘play’ with my new computer.  I use the term ‘play’ here because it is through play that we learn.  Since my new computer has a new operating system, new versions of several of my old programs and some new programs too there is plenty for me to learn.

When I’m busy I easily get frustrated by power struggles with my computer.  The new operating system has added ‘security’ features to keep me ‘safe’ – or to irritate me. Trying to work through some of these issues also got me thinking how much my computer makes me feel like a child with an overprotective parent.

There I was, 6:30am, already finished preparation for the day’s activities and meals and no children due to arrive for an hour – plenty of time to work on a blog post.  First, I’ve got a picture on the camera that I want to use.  Getting it from the camera to the computer took way longer than expected because of the unexpected hide & seek game we played as I tried to figure out where I should stick that card.

Once the picture was finally moved to the computer I was able to edit, crop and resize the photo fairly quickly because I demonstrated incredible self control to not play with all the cool features that the fancy new photo editing software has.  Then, my computer and I had this ‘conversation’;

  • Me: Save photo.
  • Comp: No, you’re not permitted to.
  • Me: Yes I am, try again.
  • Comp: No, it’s read only
  • Me: No it’s not, I checked
  • Comp: It’s mine and you can’t change it
  • Me: I took the picture — I can change it if I want to.
  • Comp: No, it’s mine
  • Me: Fine, keep that one and ‘save as’ a second one that I can have.
  • Comp: No
  • Me: Look, I’m out of time just forget it! Close program
  • Comp: You have unsaved changes. Would you like to save them?
  • Me: Oh! Yes please.
  • Comp: No, you’re not permitted to.
  • Me: Keep your stupid picture and go away.

OK, it was a temporary setback and we’ve worked it out.  I understand the need for protection – I’ve had my share of ‘OMG I can’t believe I just did that’ moments when I wished I hadn’t been allowed to delete two years worth of important data.  But really?  This was an acceptable risk.  What’s the worst thing that could happen if I modified the picture, saved it, and then changed my mind?

We learn from our mistakes and if we are never allowed to take the risk and make mistakes we won’t learn from them.  Overprotected children can’t learn to recognize the risk – to differentiate between the acceptable risk and real danger.

So I say, let’s play, take risks, make mistakes, try something different and learn.