Archive for November, 2006

Snowy Day

Now, this looks more like it.  This is the winter weather we are familiar with.

It had been snowing all day, 15 to 20 cm of that white stuff.

Doesn’t this look like cotton glued to the evergreens?

Winter 06

These are my tiny little feet trudging through the snow.

Winter 06

Try driving through the roads like these.

roads

Weather forecast for tomorrow – blowing snow.   I’m not looking forward to that.

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November 28, 2006 at 10:29 pm 24 comments

School Patrolling

school bus 

Here in Winnipeg, school buses are provided to children residing more than one kilometer from their school.  For students who are walking to school, the School Division provides trained patrols to assist with students crossing at major intersections and those within the vicinity of the school. 

A week after school started this Fall, the vice principal at my youngest son’s school sent a letter home to parents. 

She wrote: 

Every year at our school, we work hard to make sure that we have competent and reliable street patrols in place in order to ensure your child’s safety to and from school.  Street patrols are typically grades 5 to 6 students who volunteer their time in helping children cross the street before and after school.  They are a responsible group who dedicate countless hours, in all kinds of weather conditions. 

As you may be aware, some of the walking routes to school are busier than others. While our school patrols do a wonderful job, it would add extra security if there were an adult at some of these posts. 

Then she went on to refer to the particular posts just around the corner from our home.  Actually, it’s just four houses away.  

I read the letter as if it was addressed to me.  I should be the one to volunteer for this job.  I had wanted to do some volunteer work for the school for quite some time now.  I still enjoy working at home.  I like the flexibility of time it offers, I like that we don’t have to rush in the morning, and I like it that I am home when the kids come back from school.  But there are times when it gets boring and lonely and that’s when I would want to do something different, something exciting.  This is one of the reasons I started my daily walks. 

How many times had I wanted to go with my kids on their field trips, or once in a while help out during lunch, but that would mean that I’d miss time from work.  And I didn’t want a volunteer work that would interfere with my regular paying job.  This patrol duty would only require 15 minutes of my time in the morning and another 15 minutes in the afternoon.  So I thought that this was the perfect volunteer job for me. 

I immediately called the school and I was asked to attend the meeting.  By the way, my sister who lives just next door also volunteered.  And did I also mention that my 11-year old niece has been patrolling for two years now? 

The meeting was held at the school library and was attended by the student volunteers, both old and new, the adult volunteers (me and sis), and the teacher patrol supervisor.  Constable Dan from the Winnipeg Police Department was there to brief us and review the school patrol’s job. 

patrol4t.jpg 

 OUR JOB 

Members of the school patrol are responsible for:

1.       Controlling, directing and instructing students in safely crossing the streets and highways at or near our school, and in safely getting on and off the school bus.

2.       Helping teachers, parents and police in instructing school children about safe practices on streets and highways at all times and in all places. 

Constable Dan stressed that our job is to make sure the children in our care can cross the road safely and it is NOT our duty to stop traffic.  So we don’t even try.  That is the police officer’s job. 

Following these rules will help us do our job well: 

1.       Report promptly at the times set out by our supervisors.

2.       Stay on duty until the bell rings, or until the patrol captain gives us the signal to leave.

3.       If we can’t go on duty, tell our captain in advance.  That way, a spare patrol member will be on our post while we’re away.   

OUR EQUIPMENT

patrol5t.jpg 

We were given bright orange vests and flags.  The vest helps identify me as a school patrol member and it also makes me stand out so drivers can see me better.  The flag is an extension of my arm, helping make my signals clearer to traffic. 

MY PATROL POST 

patrol2.jpg 

I started my volunteer work the next day after the meeting.  I put into practice what I have learned the day before.  I arrived at my post well ahead of the time of my shift.  And I took my position one step back from the edge of the curb.  I stood at ease with my hands behind my back. 

patrol1.jpg 

When the first bunch of children came, I extended my arms in a 45-degree angle in the front of them.  Then I checked all directions for oncoming traffic.  When all vehicles have stopped, I moved out one step from the curb facing the traffic, extended my flag arm at a 90-degree angle, and waved by curbside arm behind me to motion the children to cross the street. 

patrol3.jpg 

My first day on the job was a little intimidating.  After all, I was putting myself out there in the street.  But drivers aren’t given licenses unless they know the rules of the road and they know that they should stop when they see the flags of the patrols up and when they see children crossing.  But there are also drivers who are careless and impatient especially during the rush hour and I have to make sure that they will stop at the crosswalk before I let the children cross the street, especially during the times when the roads are icy and slippery. 

So far, I have been enjoying working at my post.  The children and also some of the parents who walk with their children are friendly.  Sometimes I would get a “Thank you” and I’d give them a “You’re welcome” back.  A little “thank you,” although just said casually, goes a long way.  I really feel that what I’m doing is appreciated. 

And talk about being friendly, there’s this lady in a red jacket driving a beige car and she would usually give me a little honk and a wave and smile.  At first I didn’t recognize her.  After the second time, I realized that it was my son’s first grade teacher.  So whenever I wasn’t busy crossing children and I see her waving at me while turning that intersection, I’d also wave back at her.  Isn’t she sweet? 

It’s really a good thing that we still have a mild weather, unusually mild actually.  We should be knee-high deep in snow by now.  But I can still see green grass.  Yup, the snow you’ve seen in my pictures a few posts back have melted from our Spring-like temperatures and we were snow-less for a few weeks. It was only this past week when it snowed again and it looks like this one is here to stay for this season.

I know what lies ahead, bone-chilling temperatures of up to minus 30.  So I don’t know how I will like it when we get there.  Well, as Constable Dan has reminded us, we should be dressed appropriately for the weather at all times.  If it’s raining, wear a raincoat.  And in the winter, wear warm coats, toques, gloves and boots.  We don’t want to be shivering and then pacing back and forth to keep ourselves warm in our posts when we have to help children cross the street.

Source: School Safety Patrol Handbook, Manitoba Public Insurance 

November 25, 2006 at 10:23 pm 27 comments

My first-born turns seventeen

reg 

His friends call him Reg. 

His dad calls him Gie’. 

His middle brother nicknames him The Jazzman. 

His youngest brother teases him Kuya Wedgie. 

He’s just plain sweet ol’ Reggie to me.

He’s usually quiet and has this reserved disposition but once in a while he will surprise us with his goofiness.  He’s a responsible young man and I can rely on him to look after his brothers.  Although sometimes he also gets ticked off when they tease him a lot.

He turns 17 tomorrow.  How time flies. It seems not too long ago when I heard his first cry and was helpless as I held him in my arms.  He now towers above me and has a mind of his own.  He’s going to university next Fall and he wants to be a jazz flutist.  I support his dreams although I had negative feelings about it at first.  I was worried about the instability of a music career and the rejection that he might experience.  But I realized that rejection is a part of life and that’s how we learn, from our failures.  And who am I to hinder his dreams?  As a parent, I am here to encourage him to pursue his dreams. 

You can read more about Reggie’s dream in He is an explorer of music and …  

And also the story of his birth in “A Special Surprise” – A Labour of Love. 

reg17d.jpg 

And speaking of labour – I slaved away in the kitchen last night and this morning trying to prepare a feast for 15 people for his birthday celebration.  And that was only my family and my sister’s family and my mother.  It’s not that much food but it has been a lot of work.  I usually order food for birthday celebrations but money’s kind of tight right now and I decided to prepare everything myself.  I have not been confident enough before to serve my dishes to other people.  As I have mentioned several times before, my husband is a better cook than I am.  But he wouldn’t cook on occasions like this and I guess, I am not that bad after all.  I cooked the pancit (fried noodles), lemon chicken and lumpia (egg rolls).  I bought the ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.

reg17c.jpg 

November 19, 2006 at 11:51 pm 37 comments

I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing

I haven’t been able to blog and bloghop this past week.  And I still can’t compose a coherent post.  Everyone in the family, including me, has/had a cough and cold. 

I intended to post this a couple of weeks ago when I saw Shoshana’s post on Dreaming.  And then last night I read about another blogger’s recent loss and I was deeply touched.  So please excuse me if I’m feeling a little bit sentimental today. 

Shoshana posted a picture of her daughter while she was sleeping.  I also love watching my kids in their sleep.  When each of my kids was still a baby, I would sometimes stay and lie there in bed after he had nursed and fallen asleep.  Or if he fell asleep in my arms or in his crib, I’d linger for a while and watch him sleep.  And I think every parent can relate to this when I say that it is the most wonderful feeling when your baby falls asleep on your chest.  You wouldn’t want to move for fear that you might wake him up and break that bond that you share when his chest is against yours and his heart beats against yours. 

That being said, here’s one of my favourite songs. 

I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing

By Aerosmith

sleepa.jpg 

 I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
Watch you smile while you are sleeping
Far away and dreaming
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Well, every moment spent with you
Is a moment I treasure

I don’t wanna close my eyes
I don’t wanna fall asleep
‘Cause I’d miss you, babe
And I don’t wanna miss a thing
‘Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I’d still miss you, babe
And I don’t wanna miss a thing
 
sleepb.jpg
Lying close to you
Feeling your heart beating
And I’m wondering what you’re dreaming
Wondering if it’s me you’re seeing
Then I kiss your eyes and thank God we’re together
And I just wanna stay with you
In this moment forever, forever and ever

I don’t wanna close my eyes
I don’t wanna fall asleep
‘Cause I’d miss you, babe
And I don’t wanna miss a thing
‘Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I’d still miss you, babe

And I don’t wanna miss a thing

sleepc.jpg  

I don’t wanna miss one smile
I don’t wanna miss one kiss
Well, I just wanna be with you
Right here with you, just like this
I just wanna hold you close
Feel your heart so close to mine
And stay here in this moment
For all the rest of time

Don’t wanna close my eyes
Don’t wanna fall asleep
‘Cause I’d miss you, babe
And I don’t wanna miss a thing
‘Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
‘Cause I’d still miss you, babe
And I don’t wanna miss a thing

sleepd.jpg

I don’t wanna close my eyes
I don’t wanna fall asleep
‘Cause I’d miss you, babe
And I don’t wanna miss a thing
‘Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I’d still miss you, babe
And I don’t wanna miss a thing

Don’t wanna close my eyes
Don’t wanna fall asleep, yeah
I don’t wanna miss a thing.

November 11, 2006 at 11:30 pm 30 comments

Of Wars and The Ice Cap

My 12-year old son, Ryan and I were downtown last weekend.  We were on our way home about to board our bus when we saw a group of people marching on the westbound lane of Portage Avenue.  Two people were carrying a huge banner that said, “Canada Out of Afghanistan.”   

My kids don’t see a lot of rallies here.  Actually they only see them on TV.  Ryan was curious and asked me what it was all about.  I told him that these people were protesting the war in Iraq and they want the government to send the Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan back home.  There have already been quite a number of Canadians that have been killed over there. 

I am not writing this to discuss or debate about the war.  One of the topics I veer away from is politics as I don’t follow it that much.  I just want to relate how war affects my kids – what they think about it. 

In my post What happens if we’re bad? I shared a conversation I had with Ryland, my 8-year old son.  Here’s an excerpt from that post:

Him: If you kill somebody, will you go to hell? 

Me:  Maybe not, if you’re really, really sorry about it and confess your sin. 

Him:  Where is hell?  Is it under the ground and has fires? 

Me: I don’t really know if that’s true.  But I know that we don’t want to be in that place. 

Him:  What about soldiers?  They kill people.  Will they go to hell? 

Me:  See, that’s like a tricky question.  They’re defending their country, but they kill people.  I think if they are sorry afterwards, they won’t go to hell. 

And this is what Ryan wrote in a recent homework:ice cap

Visiting the Ice Cap

Brrrr.  Have you ever been to the Ice Cap?  Well, the Ice Cap is my favourite biome. 

First, I want to visit the Ice Cap because it’s cold but cool!  I would like to see an iceberg floating in the water but I don’t want to be an iceberg myself.

Second, I would like to visit the Ice Cap because no one lives there!  Therefore, it’s quiet and peaceful so there is no war or conflict.

Thirdly, did you know animals live in the Ice Cap?  Penguins, seals, diving birds, whales and fish live in the Ice Cap. 

Thus, I want to visit the Ice Cap even though it’s cold.  I would like to see the animals, icebergs and it’s quiet and peaceful.

November 4, 2006 at 9:50 pm 25 comments