Friday, March 25, 2011

12 / 52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures: trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane -- 

whatever is unique to the week. 

Join me if you like.

:: Week one out in the big world of career schooling is now complete for this son. My husband and I have been almost giddy with jovial moments, very much enjoying each day's progress, impulsively giving one another high-fives, pleased to proclaim - this week our son became a "man". Child number five is now being launched into the reality of life.

Rising at 5am, he tends to his morning routine and the dogs, then he accompanies his father out the door before 6am at the latest. It worked out perfect for him to be able to carpool, as the classes just happened to be held not only in the same geographical location at my husband's office, but also in the same building. He'll be traveling on his own soon to other locations and will need to drive himself along crazy multi-laned highways and big cities, but for now, all is working out just fine, complete with plenty of proper mentoring from all angles.

Together, the two of them hit the road, and then once arriving, he must wait almost an hour until his formal classroom time begins, preferring to study alone in the hallway to better prepare himself for his daily exams ahead. His place within the class of 15 remaining candidates is intense and requires focus. He is the second youngest among an age span of men up to their late forties. At the end of the day's session, he eats dinner followed by more studying hours and a helpful fatherly review period before dad hits his own pillow.  And then the cycle continues all over again the following day. 

It's been quite exciting to hear the results of each day when he arrives home. He's been very cheery, elated by results of Friday's exam of 100%. Now that this opportunity has sunk in, as per usual, the pressure is on for he knows he must have results on each day/week exam of 92% or higher to remain for one more week, like a reality show, only the stakes are higher. 

Out for an introduction in the field by day two, steel toed boots were required. Always a young man to dare label anyone wearing such boots a "redneck", he wasn't at all sure he'd like them himself, but became pleasantly surprised to find them very comfortable. He's hanging out in the man's world now, and our son is his own self professed "redneck" as he has formally joined the league of using mandatory protective gear (safety vest, safety eye glasses, hat) and steel toed boots.

:: Lent and rice just seem to go together. How to make a mama happy? Tidy up the pantry, refill all the special containers holding the bulk baking and other items, and then come to realize just how much brown rice I have stored in there. 

Rice, rice and more rice will be on the menu for the duration of lent. A favorite is chopping up plenty of celery, onion (any kinds, the more the merrier), garlic, spinach, leftover veggies, whatever and cook until al dente in a frying pan. I mostly steam lightly with a little water to save calories on the fats and when the rice is cooked, I dump it all in the pan with the veggies, stir and serve. We mustn't forget the soy sauce though, love that. 

:: Good nutrition begins with proper selection of fruits and vegetables. This week I took out the fancy high tea three tiered stand, and I decided it would be perfect to place on the counter, adding height to the center of it, and allow for a display of fresh fruit to be in better eyesight. 

It's been a complete temptation and so much more fruit has been consumed around here just for this minor effort of adding a new display to the room. 

(Thank you mom for gifting me with this many years ago now, repurposed for nutritional gain in our family)

:: We've revisited our paper doll making efforts by bringing out our collection of historical timeline figures used for our history lessons on early explorers. 

We've gathered quite a lovely collection of paper doll ideas through the years; scrapbooking with unique ones made to go along with events of photos, the twelve apostles, and more. It's so fun to make them! And, I cannot believe we haven't been doing more of these the past months, as they allow for so much creativity amongst us with this lovely little hobby of paper crafting fun. 

These two are obviously Vikings, but can you tell me "which" historical ones they are? (answer is at the end of this blog post) 

We're into "Canadiana" historical paper doll making now and will feature them along the way as they are completed. Meanwhile, I have a few more to share with you in the weeks to come from our early explorer collection.

:: It's been an interesting week of school, and somehow the sun drew everyone into this room during this time of day for sunshine and an increase in Vitamin D exposure. :) 

THIS is what homeschooling is all about folks, it's all about a lifestyle of learning, which instinctively occurs and happens wherever, however, and whenever, much to the comfort of everyone present. This was such a natural setting for a time, and then it was time to head back to the table again.

:: There's something about living in Ontario that I find unusual. Most of the people we meet here do not appreciate eating fish! Oh sure, their favorites are tilapia and sole, two of the most bland and flavorless fish around. Most have no interest in trying "real fish" - REAL fish (smiling), those of ocean fish like salmon and tuna. Lucky for me though, but sad that it has to be that way, most often grocery stores have to purge their stocks for lack of sales, and happily instead, they seem to end up in my pantry!

Last week, all these cans were purchased "for a song", ridiculous pricing that would send any fish lover or westcoaster running to their grocery store once news of the sale was whispered in their ear. And at the end of the day, every westcoaster planted in Ontario is left to boast of the unbelievable winning results of their shopping day. Yep, folks, crazy deals await those who love their REAL fish, which is just perfect timing for adding into our lenten meals.
:: This friend of our older ones, better friend to our daughter at present (smile), rose to the challenge this week when this mother gave him credit for sharing his vehicle with his father for work purposes when his own broke down and landed in the mechanic shop. Both these kids had a day off work (unusual for them) and wanted to "hang out" together, so I suggested without wheels nothing would be possible, and (big meany that I was that day with many serious commitments this week), I wasn't playing taxi for them because I would be busy teaching the younguns. 

So, I challenged him to come up with a solution to spend the afternoon with our daughter, all good fun of course. It all sounded good for him to take up my challenge, except the weather has to be conducive to this type of outing. Imagine really pulling this off by using the last bit of gasoline available in their snow blower jerry can, and actually showing up with a big smile on his face when he saw me looking totally amazed at his arrival in our driveway. 

A bit of a safety freak, I was pleased he was too, happy to know our daughter was in good hands and would have a blast this day on the trails surrounding our area. 

:: It happened! The price at the gas pumps hit an all time high in the east of 1.20 / liter. That doesn't sound like much if you're paying per gallon, but in Canada, we pay per liter. Here's why this seems so ridiculous to me. Just under five years ago, we were only paying 69.9/liter at the pumps, almost doubled from then to now. Crazy! 

I snapped the photo in secret above of my hubby at the pump, after offering to gas up because it wasn't so bitter cold out this day. In fact, it has been fairly mild for most of the week until the chill returned two days ago. Our kids liked this photo too, but they said it looks as though I was "creeping" on him, the teen saying of the year no doubt.

:: A bit of laughter can make any day brighter, specially this day shortly before having the blood oxygen gas testing performed by this RT inserting a needle in his wrist. I happened to catch this shot with my iphone camera, and I''m really fond of it for what it represents; always looking at the bright side when everything seems overwhelming. Smile everyone! It brings about a great outlook on life itself. 

Other things of interest this week;

 :: After much denial, I headed to my optometrist appointment, knowing full well I was going blind, at least my reading glasses were in dire need of a new prescription. The writing was just getting too small for my sight, and I was beginning to squint using funny nose muscles. New glasses are on order. 

:: The sun has been glorious and so very welcomed all week long! In a fit of impulse, I filled my bucket with hot water and a generous splash of vinegar, grabbed my window washing tools and began cleaning, one window at a time. I can't believe the results, all are now so sparkly clean, unless one looks too closely to note the outside window panes are also in need of cleaning. Nevertheless, bring on spring and allow it to knock the socks off us through our window viewing. 

:: After this week's chiropractic visit, I now feel as though my lower back has more mobility and is less in need of a lube and oil. Those joints were feeling mighty creaky this past few weeks, specially now that this ole body of mine is back into circuit training at Curves. 

I might also add, I became deeply humbled after accepting an invitation to go early morning "mall walking" with a group of older women from my Newcomers group. When I say early morning, I mean EARLY. I felt shame later on, as I had been guilty of judging them by their age, thinking them a slower moving bunch (they looked it all the times I've seen them) and also thinking a lovely light stroll socializing with this group of women would be just what the doctor ordered to distract my week. 

No one warned me! No one told me they are "power walkers", you know, the ones with their elbows flying up to their ears, soaring through hallways and byways of the largest indoor mall around these parts. Oh and no one told me they were all avid cross country skiers all winter long, hikers in fair weather, and not just a bunch of 60 and 70 something older women attempting to keep in shape! Yes, no one warned me I would feel such a dire need to shape up after just one hour's "slow" mall walk with them. No wonder they all gather for a coffee together  before leaving to get on with their day afterward. 

I really enjoyed that coffee, continually wiping my sweaty brow the entire time I sat sipping it, catching my breath and really marveling over this "humbling" outing. I've been out twice now, but recently been informed since it's warming up a bit more, they are heading outdoors but wish to begin before the sun rises.Did I mention they were power walkers AND hikers? I think I've found my very own group of "Jillians" folks! :)

Moral of the story; Never judge a woman by her age or her looks!  (LOL)

Last but never least...

:: My hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed our date night last night. 

We were able to get out alone for a much needed reprieve from a tough week, and use another "Wagjag" coupon to try out a new sushi place, agreeing it the best one to date. Not feeling a hurry to return home, we took our time, and eventually headed home somewhere around 10pm. While traveling along the main highway, a red light blinked on the dashboard and a noisy siren sound came from the vehicle. We had no idea what was happening. 

In the glare of the red lighting, there was a typed message signalling what the problem was. My husband couldn't read it without his glasses, I couldn't see it from the passenger side. As suddenly as it appeared and alerted us, all the electrical ceased, lights out too, all while traveling in the center lane. Luckily a turn off was ahead, and luckily the highway wasn't as busy as usual, so we were safe to move over and take that turn before stopping the vehicle on the roadside. 

Thankful for the safe experience, we soon realized the noise was an indication that the alternator was blown. Instead of happening anywhere else, it happened here. We were safe. All was okay. 

I placed the call to AAA for a tow truck, called our son to come help drive us home once the vehicle was delivered to our mechanic's location for the night, and then it hit me! It was COLD and the operator claimed it could take up to 45 minutes for the truck to arrive. That might be nothing to most folks. I knew by the end of that timing I would be frozen but fine, but having respiratory issues,  my hubby would  not be able to handle the frigid temperatures which were continuing to plummet to -15C through the night. Before completing the conversation with the AAA operator, I thought to ask the woman to place a rush on the tow truck and explained why, which was a great thing for me to do after realizing how quick my thinking kicked into place.

Once the truck arrived, my husband was able to hop into it to keep warm inside. Our son arrived to pick me up for travel to meet the tow at the mechanic shop, pick up hubby and continue on working our way home. Like a guardian angel watching over us, the tow truck operator saw how small our son's truck was and informed us to just go ahead, he would take my hubby home instead when he was finished with the vehicle. And he sure kept my hubby safe and warm inside the truck, never allowing him to get out and assist in any way.

Luckily, there ended up being no fallout from all things possible or emergent in that unexpected scenario. Whew...

There were two solid reminders to us after this experience; 

  • 1) - I love our CAA (AAA) membership so much whenever something like this happens to us, always a lifesaver and well worth every penny of it's yearly fee, especially when towing is involved! And when we've encountered service beyond the call of duty, I am sure to type up a special thank you note to their manager, thanking them for hiring the cream of the crop, mentioning all the extra little bits that never went unnoticed or unappreciated. This guy is getting a letter sent off on his behalf...for sure. 
  • 2) - From now on, we are upping the safety mode in our vehicles even higher than they already are, but after last night, absolutely thinking outside of the box now for my hubby. This is one rare time he never had his grip bag of arctic clothing in the vehicle, and his jacket had been warm enough earlier in the day, but not while waiting for the truck. I'll be placing the gear back in there, a blanket, an emergency foil blanket, thermal socks, and other such things to assist with possible future scenarios. In summer, we will switch up modes, to assure if something happened while on the road in high humidity, we will be required to have items in the vehicle to assist with those weather conditions. And he absolutely must carry medication on himself at all times.

One never stops falling into a learning curve, and I am very thankful for ours and that it didn't have far greater dangers for breathing issues in the chill of the night. SO GRATEFUL for how the night ended, near midnight once all was complete and final.

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the;
52 week photography link-up party.

Answers to the historical names of the Viking paper dolls are; 
** Eric the Red, and Gudrid the Viking woman