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Who are the people in your neighborhood?

15 Oct

“Can I help you find an address?” I shouted to the woman across the street.

That’s not a car of one of the residents, I thought when I saw her minivan pull into the parking lot of the small apartment complex across the street.I was walking Lucy. Or rather, I was standing outside with Lucy. I might have said I was walking Lucy, but, at 13, she now tends to walk for short distances then stand, looking around at the world.

We were in a standing phase when the car pulled up. I’d seen the woman get out of her car, walk to one of the apartments, get back in her car, back up, repark, get out again. When she came back to the parking area, Lucy and I had moved enough for me to see she had a parcel in her hands. She looked up at the sign on the building and back at the package. That’s when I figured she might need help.

It turns out, the package was destined for my side of the street.

Delivery people often make mistakes in my neighborhood. The streets go from 30th Ave, to 30th Place, to 31st Ave. Deliveries meant for people on my street, 31st, often get delivered to 30th Place because people assume the street after 30th is 31st. Once, I had a package containing jewelry delivered to my house, even though it was destined for my equivalent on 30th Place. The residents were stunned when I showed up at the door, but thankful. My neighbors all know this to be true and more than once I’ve encountered one while walking (or standing with) Lucy, on their way to or from a delivery snafu. Fixing these delivery issues is a little inconvenient, but neighborly.

Lucy watched as the woman crossed the road and went up the front steps of our condominium complex. Then she followed. The package was delivered by the time we reached our door. Missions accomplished.

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Like flies to manure

7 Oct

As soon as the instructor started placing materials on the tables, I knew she wasn’t joking about it being a hands on workshop. The class was entitled “Breed Specific Knitting” and before lay yarn from ten different breeds of sheep. As she unpacked, the air filled with the smell of farm and lanolin. I was itching to reach out and touch. So were the other people in my class. We were drawn to the fleece like flies to manure – and there was manure.

It was my first day at Knit City, who’s motto is “A modern fibre event”. The event might be modern but this class was old school and wonderful.

We learned about the importance of the length of each fibre and how crimped it is. We stretched fibres, pulled them apart, and snapped them by our ears to hear ow easily they broke. We got dried manure on our hands.

“Don’t worry,” said our instructor, “I brought wipes!”

By the end of the workshop, the white tablecloths were speckled with dried manure, but we all knew a lot more about which fibres work best for which knitted items.

 

Tooth or consequences

1 Oct

I have been blessed with excellent dental health.

When I chipped my tooth two weeks ago, I was concerned and got into the dentist asap. Expecting a crown, he repaired it like a filling.

Last Tuesday, while eating my lunch, the filling popped off. I called the dentist right away and got an appointment. I also got a better sub than the week before.

The dentist I go to is new to me. My insurance changed and I switched dentists. I’d had my previous dentist for over 20 years and I was accustomed to his ways. I guess that’s why I assumed both times I’d be getting a crown. Dental work was serious and drastic.

My new dentist looked again at the chipped area and surprised me by still opting for no crown. He repaired it using a different material. and then he talked me off the ledge I hadn’t realized I’d been standing on.

“If it breaks while you are away next weekend, it won’t be an emergency,” he told me, eyes sparkling above his surgical mask. “The tooth is still very sound.”

I had told him about an upcoming trip to Vancouver, BC and I think he could tell there were an awful lot of what ifs swirling around in my head.

“If this does fall off, come in when it is convenient. We could do a crown if you want, but we could also just smooth down the rough edges.”

Whoa. My mind was blown.

What I’d thought of as a dental emergency was really not. As educators, we hear about serious dental issues can make it hard for kids to learn. They are having dental emergencies and not getting the care they need. My dental owie, though it could have been worse, was nothing compared to what some students experience daily.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the dental bus that used to come to the school I taught at for over a decade. It’s not that far from my current school, but it is miles away on the socio-economic scale. Kids were get their teeth checked for free. They could have sealants applied and a few had to have some serious dental work done and looked woozy when they returned. A few had teeth so bad they had extra, still free, visits to the dental school.  I had no idea some of these kids had such terrible teeth. They must have been in terrible pain and yet they carried on.

I am taking care to ensure this filling holds. I hope the dental care those former students received years ago holds.

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Hammer time

24 Sep

Week four and the hammer falls.

We have spent the last three weeks in training – learning when and when not to go to their lockers, what to bring to each class, when to go to the bathroom. The first two weeks were friendly reminders. Last week’s reminders were a little more serious.

“If you do that next week, you’ll have lunch detention.”

Lunch detention is hardly a hardship. Students sit in silence, eating their lunch and reading a book. In a school of 1600, where over 500 6th graders eat at the same time, lunch detention can seem like a respite, but at this point in the year, the 6th graders don’t know that yet.

I had an idea of who my first detainees might be. So, imagine my surprise when one of the sweetest, most responsible boys in class confessed he had left his writer’s notebook in his locker. They students had just taken their seats to begin generating ideas for personal narratives around first times, last times, and times they learned something. This young man, because he was sweet and honest, didn’t just get some notebook paper, he confessed.

I don’t make a big deal out of lunch detention when it happens. Most kids are worried the first time, and ask funny questions like “Are you going to tell my mom?” or “Will this go on my permanent record?”.

The student came back to class with a worried look on his face, so I tried to alleviate his worry with some humor.

“Maybe you could write about “The first time I got lunch detention,” I suggested, grinning.

He smiled back at me, opened his notebook, and got to work.

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Revision

10 Sep

I bought some yarn this summer. Im, fact, I bought quite a bit of yarn. I went on vacation with four patterns in tow and a plan to get yarn for two of them. By the time I got home, I had yarn for three.

I started knitting one of the sweaters, a beautiful short-sleeved top that involves colorwork. I knit a swatch and worried a little that the contrast, which seemed evident in the skeins, seemed muddied in the knitting.

I started the sweater, hoping it would be better, but two rows into the colorwork, I knew it wasn’t going to get better. I set the project aside.

I had purchased the yarn at a store in Montréal. Of course, it was the house brand and only available there. I looked through the color options and placed an order.The yarn arrived yesterday.

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As tempted as I was to jump right back in a  few things had to happen first. I had to finish the sock I was knitting. I had to wind the skein into a cake. And, I still had to tear out the two rows of colorwork I had already completed. I finished the sock last night, so, when I get home from school today, I will wind and rip. With any luck, I will also begin knitting.

The Big Five-0

3 Sep

I started school on the Tuesday after Labour Day in 1969.

I’ve been going to school for 50 years!

I was four years old, a December baby, and it was the days when the kindergarten cut-off was December 31st.

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My kindergarten school picture – dress sewn by Mom 

I was super excited about school and insisted Mom teach me how to write my name before we started because I thought that was something I was already supposed to know.

I only found out many years later that, because I was such a shy and introverted child, my parents had considered keeping me home an extra year to mature. They sent me to school that first day with my twin sister, hoping I’d be OK. Fortunately, it worked out and I thrived at school.

So, here I am, 50 years later, still excited about the first day of school. I hope everyone who comes into my class thrives the way I did in Miss Belyea’s class. I know some kids won’t be quite as excited, and that some parents might be worried, like my parents were. I will do my best to be as good for them as Miss Belyea was for me.

Back in style

27 Aug

Many people have back to school traditions. Some people take a yearly photo. Some people have breakfast traditions. For the last few years, I’ve knit socks.

This year, I had my 2019 back to school socks ready for the first day of inservice week.

These are knit in a colorway called Patience. It seemed appropriate.

My 2018 socks were knit in No. 2 Pencil.

The 2017 school year started shortly after the eclipse. Naturally, this colorway was called Total Eclipse of the Sun.

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In 2016, I used this yarn, Fall for Barrie, for another project, but had enough left over for a pair of shortie socks.

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Hand knit socks aren’t cheap, but it makes me happy knowing my feet are sheathed in something made by my own hands.

 

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