Archive for October, 2006
We’ve had the first major snowfall of the season yesterday. Ten to 15 cms of snow. That’s about four to six inches of the white stuff. And it looks like it’s here to stay, that is for the next six to seven months. So expect to see more pictures of the big white from this site.
Snow may look all pretty and nice and it could also be fun playing on it and making snowballs and snowmen. But it can also be a hassle. Just last night, it caused major traffic disruption all over the city and transit buses were delayed up to 90 minutes. I was worried when Reggie wasn’t home yet from his flute lesson at 6:00 p.m. I heard from the news about the traffic. I just couldn’t help but worry. Besides it was already dark even at 5:30 p.m. as we have just switched to Daylight Savings Time over the weekend. He was coming from the North Main area and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really fond of that part of the city. I was relieved when he came home at 6:45 p.m. and of course he was fine. The buses were just running late.
And of course, we had to shovel that snow. I shouldn’t be really complaining because I only shoveled this pathway at the side of our house and our front steps. My sister and her family did our long driveway. We share the driveway but she usually beats us in shoveling there because it’s on her side of the duplex we also share and her husband is usually the one who has to drive to work first in the morning.
I don’t drive but I know that it’s harder to drive in the snow. The roads could get slippery. Just walking on the sidewalks can be tricky. I walk like a turtle on icy patches.
It was a cold night for trick-or-treating. Some of the kids had to wear their winter jackets over their costumes. I managed to squish Ryland’s jacket inside his costume so that it didn’t look like he was wearing one. We had to trudge on snow as some pathways haven’t been shoveled yet. He missed his brothers because this is the first time we went trick-or-treating without them. People liked his scary costume. And we met this couple who asked if they could take a picture with him. I gladly agreed. They said they’re were just new in Winnipeg and they came from Brazil.
I borrowed the title of this post from the Robin Williams starrer The Big White, which was filmed mostly here in Winnipeg.
Dictionary.com defines spooky as 1. like or befitting a spook or ghost; 2. eerie; scary.
Ryland’s howling ghost costume is spooky.
And so is this hand squashed underneath this big rock.
Or Dracula’s head and arms creeping up from under his grave.
Or this elaborately decorated yard with the all these scarecrows and jack-o-lanterns and ghosts hanging around? And I wonder what that big black thing in the middle will do on All Hallow’s Eve. Spooky.
What about walking along empty streets lined with awkward-looking naked trees (that’s what I call these leafless trees)?
It could be scary walking alone here at night but not during the day. This is one of the streets where I take my daily walks.
Yup, I’ve committed myself to going out everyday and walking at least 30 minutes. I stepped on my bathroom scale a few weeks ago and was surprised to learn that I gained about 10 lbs since summer. Now, that’s scary to me.
This is one negative thing about working at home. I eat and I munch all day that I don’t even feel the pangs of hunger. And I don’t find enough reason to go out of the house. But now I found one – this weight gain. This couldn’t be good. No wonder some of my clothes won’t fit anymore. I can’t afford to buy new clothes now. And I can’t afford to join a gym membership either, or buy a treadmill. So I think walking is the cheapest and the best form of exercise I could get for now.
And want to hear another thing that’s scary? Halloween is just two days away (make that a day away, didn’t notice that it’s past midnight already) and there will be lots of candies in the house. I have to control myself. But can I? Mwah hah hah hah hah.
Halloween is big in Canada, well at least here in Winnipeg. As early as late August, once the school supplies are gone from the store shelves, they are immediately replaced by Halloween costumes and decorations.
Here’s Ryland checking out the costumes. He’s already tired of wearing hand-me-downs from his two older brothers and he asked me to buy him a new one. I said yes. He by-passed the cutesy costumes like Spiderman and Superman. He’s too big for those now. He picked the howling ghost with eyes that light up.
This was the last time all three of my kids wore Halloween costumes. The year 2002. Reggie was a wizard, Ryland was a bee, and Ryan was a bird. This year, it’s only Ryland who’s going trick-or-treating.
Halloween is not an official holiday. It is a work day and children still go to school. The younger children all go to school in their costumes. In my son’s school, students from kindergarten to grade three have a parade in the gym, while children from grades four to six usually have an outing to a roller skating rink here in the city.
There are also people at work who show up in costumes. Common costumes are a witch, a ghost, a doctor, a nurse, etc. Some people would wear an orange shirt or sweater. I know a Filipino guy who wears his Barong Tagalog every Halloween. And they also decorate their cubicles. There is usually a Halloween decorating contest at my workplace. The spookier the decoration, the better chances of winning.
People also decorate their houses. I only have one Halloween decoration. This 10 light pumpkin set.
Some people decorate their houses with printed orange garbage bags filled with leaves.
Some use pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns.
Some use bats, skeletons, or Frankenstein.
Some would hang ghosts in their trees. Skulls and the yellow crime scene tape are also popular.
And there are a few who buy the inflatable decorations. This is my favourite one so far.
On Halloween night, some houses even play spooky sounds. The ones whose houses have decorations are usually the ones who give out treats on Halloween. So my kids already know which ones to stop by and then they holler “Trick or Treat!”
Every Friday afternoon, my youngest son, who is in third grade, brings home his TWAS (this week at school) journal. It is the first thing I look for in his backpack because I want to know what he learned and did at school that week that he hasn’t told me yet and he usually has something interesting to write. This is what he wrote in his TWAS this past week.
At school in gym we played lacross* and it was fun. We have Halloween centers and they’re cool. Yesterday we made a number puzzle. We got our Picture Day pictures yesterday. My class learned about UNICEF. My class has a team for extreme dodgeball. Also from yesterday I made a skeleton and a bus poster. I also learned about basic human rights.
After supper, we had this conversation.
Me: I like what you wrote in your TWAS. So you learned about basic human rights. Do you know what it means?
Him: Yes, it means that people should have water, food, laws, rules, education. And also, healthcare, peace, transportation. And we also have to be respectful.
Me: That’s good. You learned all about that?
Him: Uh hum.
He also brought home this large orange UNICEF bag and a collection envelope that he could use for trick-or-treating. (That’s his Halloween costume beside the bag.) Usually, the school sends home only a small orange box to collect money for UNICEF. My kids would hang this box around their neck on Halloween night and there are a few people who would drop coins in their boxes as well as treats in their Halloween bags.
The school collects funds for the poor countries in Africa where education is very problematic for most children and families have a serious lack of safe water and need to construct wells. The students have school assemblies where they are explained about social responsibility and taught empathy.
I think that’s a good thing. Hmmn. I’m starting to sound like Martha Stewart. 🙂
When I was in elementary school in the Philippines, I remember that we also celebrated United Nations Day, which falls on October 24. I have this picture of my classmates where we wore a U.S.A. costume. We had these blue vests made out of crepe paper and adorned with big white stars on the front. We also had this striped red and white waistband. Then we paraded around the neighbourhood.
My sister’s class wore Dutch costumes. This was in 1973. Oh, the things they made us wear back then.
* It’s actually spelled lacrosse and it is the official summer sport of Canada. It is a game played by two teams in which participants use a long-handled stick.
Every Fall, our dear family friend, Nanay Ayo, always goes back to the Philippines and stays there until Spring. She’s about 70 years old and already retired. She escapes the extreme winter temperatures that we get here in Winnipeg. How lucky is she to be able to do that. I also know a few retirees who do the same thing.
Also every Fall, the Canada geese fly south to warmer temperatures. I’ll hear them honk and see them fly up in the sky. And I am just fascinated at how they fly in the V formation. I have seen a TV documentary on this topic and I found an article on this website that explains it very well. I just thought I’d share it with you.
Next fall when you see geese heading south for the winter… flying along in V formation…you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way:
As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in V formation the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range, than if each bird flew on its own.
People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone… and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed the same way we are. When the head goose gets tired it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point. It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs…with people or with geese flying south.
Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. What do we say when we honk from behind?
Finally…and this is important…when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshots, and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies, and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.
I guess it wouldn’t hurt to follow the example of the Canada geese, don’t you think?
I have been too busy and too tired to compose a decent post these past few weeks. Not that I don’t have anything to write. The notes in my ideas folder are actually piling up. I just haven’t got the time to sit down and write or finish some of the things I have started. Or perhaps I’m just not in the mood lately to write. I blame it on the weather.
In the meantime, let me just share some more pictures I have taken a few weeks ago, just before the strong winds blew off most of the leaves from the trees. Maybe having these pictures up here will cheer me up too.
Just an update to those who are asking about my cousin whom I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post. She’s back home safely and feeling much better. Thanks for all the concern and prayers.
We experienced very strong winds for a few days last week and we’ve had quite a windstorm on Thursday night, actually it was the wee hours of Friday morning. The wind was howling at 60 with gusts of up to 90 kmh. I haven’t seen any damage in my neighbourhood but it was a different story downtown. The strong winds blew the windows of a hotel parkade and this “forced police to close several streets for fear more glass would rain down from other buildings onto pedestrians and vehicles,” according to the Winnipeg Free Press. Also, one vehicle was struck and the windshield smashed by a falling window pane. And a huge oak tree snapped and fell on this guy’s Dodge Caravan. Nobody was hurt though.