Monthly Archives: May 2005

A walk in the park

Tonight I went for a long walk and talk with a friend.  We decided to go out to the Little Red Park across the river from where I live.  It’s a nice piece of wild land inside our city limits with lots of walking trails. 

I was out there a few weeks ago and, as I was watching a goose squawk at me and take off for the water of the pond beside us, I noticed the reason for the commotion – a nest with about three eggs.  I had inadvertently scared her away from her nest. 

Tonight we took a little detour on our walk so I could check on the nest.  This time I made sure I did not get so close as to frighten her.  She was there sitting on the nest.

Tonight our wildlife treat was watching a big fat beaver.  It seemed to be oblivious to the presence of all the onlookers.  It strolled nonchalantly on the grass nibbling at sticks and dandelions.    

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The cook

Yesterday, I was out doing chores – running around town picking up stuff I would need from various stores.  I left rather late in the afternoon since everyone else was away and I didn’t think anyone would be home for supper until maybe 9pm.  I was surprised when I drove into the garage and saw that Leo was already home.  He had been down in Saskatoon for some meeting – oh, yeah and golf. 

Sara was down there getting a very fancy hairdo – real hair attached into her own.  Long real hair.  Very expensive real hair.  It is a late birthday present, something she has wanted for a long time and has been saving up till closer to grad.  Her boyfriend graduates this month and she wants to look special.  I hope she likes it since this is “the” hairdo of the year.  (Actually she looks just too gorgeous and only 16!)  I will try and sneak a picture in here if she will let me get one that meets with her approval.

No one had had supper yet except Sara – she ate in Saskatoon with her older sister. 

Sometimes you would think I had forbidden anyone else in the house to think of cooking something in my absence.

I asked Patrick to put some burgers on the barbecue.  He went to start it and broke the lighter.  We had one match left in the house.  He knew how to work that.  Those crazy “childproof” lighters.  Takes an intelligent woman to operate one.

Then he said he would sure like to go the Star Wars but did not want to go alone.  I wanted to go too but not alone.  So on the spur of the moment we decided to go. 

This left Leo to finish cooking his own burgers.  We had put them on.  We reminded him to turn them as we left.  They had all disappeared when we returned close to 1am.  I hope they were OK.  I don’t smell burnt meat.  But did he eat them all? 

Well, I guess he did not burn the burgers.  But he did eat them all!  Well, it is not as bad as that may sound – only three.  Still it was an opportunity for me to remind him that he should not have – that burgers can safely be kept in the fridge and eaten later. 

Then today at noon, we had company for lunch.  For some reason the kids got around to discussing Leo’s cooking abilities.  I assured them that in days of yore he had actually made an awesome pot of chilli.  Not just once either.  But they assured me that somewhere along the way he had lost his cooking skills.  He made the most gross omelet once to feed the kids, I guess.  As they put it “He just threw in a whole hunk of cheese – didn’t grate it or anything.”  But they don’t mind too much if he is in charge.  He can be persuaded to order in with absolutely no arm twisting.

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Cultural clues

As I was being introduced to the family of one of my son’s classmates from law school I learned something that I had not clued into before.  The family had come to Canada from Africa; from Zambia.  The woman graduating was accompanied by friends and by her son and mother.  As Eric introduced me to his classmate, they in turn introduced both of us to her friends and her mother.  Her mother was sitting and was probably a bit older than myself.  As Eric bent over to shake her hand he did something that was culturally African; he took her right hand in his right hand but placed his left hand on his right arm just above his elbow.  I didn’t notice really.  I have seen him shake hands like this before but didn’t catch on to the significance of it.

As he did this simple gesture, the husband of his classmate remarked, “Oh! That is so African.  You can see that he grew up there.” 

I had to ask, what it was that caught his attention.  I found out something I had not learned all the years I lived in Africa.  It is a sign of great respect to shake someone’s hand in this way.  

It is kind of neat to have a son who became culturally sensitive to these subtle African ways.  It marks him as one of them.  He is in tune with even the little things that living there for years does not guarantee acquiring.  So he lives with a heart torn between two worlds – knowing the way to function in both.  Born in Canada, raised in the Congo, exiled to Canada till a way opens to return to his loved land.

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More on Convocation Day

One of the fun parts about being a parent is seeing the investment pay off.  Oh, I’m not sure if the financial investment ever reaps huge dividends and I don’t know that I would recommend it as a great financial investment strategy.  In fact I think kids just about break you in every way, financial included.  But yesterday, we got to be present at the convocation of the College of Law at the U of Saskatchewan.  And Eric now moves up into that category that is slightly above a law student.  He will now become officially a “student at law” as he begins his year of articling. 

I can remember those horrid days of elementary school with Eric.  I am not a teacher but because I was a missionary mother, I was expected to teach him Kindergarten and Grade 1.  I also was the only dentist in the province in which we lived and was trying to teach a student to do dentistry as well.  So class time with Eric was limited.  His Kindergarten was taught mostly at siesta time and that wasn’t the greatest time.  I was tired and he wanted to play.  By the time Grade 1 came around a short term missionary was there to help – a Godsend.  Otherwise he may not have lived to the ripe old age of 7 when he started regular classes.

And then there were those years of math problems.  Those few problems that took hours (literally) and ended up with tears of anger and frustration.  Those were the days before we knew about ADHD.  What saved him when he got into high school were friends that studied with him and his own natural intelligence.

What saved him as he got into Law school was his wife, Michelle. 

So yesterday we braved the long and in reality fairly boring convocation for the Colleges of Education and the College of Law.  Finally, there he was, up there on stage.  And we cashed in on those long grueling years of school.  It was worth it.

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Getting his LLB

Tomorrow is going to be a big day for us.  Eric convocates tomorrow afternoon from law.  Imagine that – one kid actually done school.  His second degree, in fact, since he already has a BA in International Development from Guelph.  We are proud of all our kids – as most parents are I guess.  It maybe is most rewarding to see them finish when it has not simply been a breeze; an easy accomplishment.  Maybe we all owe the most to Michelle who has loved him all the way through this degree.  I don’t think he would have made it without her encouragement (ie: making him study and commuting to PA to work to support them both).

We will take pictures!

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Dinner with the Doc's

One of the perks of being the wife of the regional MHO (medical health officer) is accompanying him to some of his work (ie: social) events connected to his job.  Sometimes I even get to travel with him but usually that ends up costing us money and I lose time at work.  We are such slaves to our jobs! 

Anyway, the Parkland Health Region is hosting the gathering of the provinces Medical Health Officers and Public Health supervisors.  Tonight was their welcoming dinner.  We sat at a table with guys from Kenya and Malawi and the Congo – oh yeah there were some Canadians too.  Talked about how poverty was one of the main determinants of health – not only in Africa but here too.  Talked about Rabies and other really gross stuff too.  Medical doctors have strange dinner time conversation topics designed to turn your stomachs.  And we even learned about condoms and STD’s and prisons and how there seems to be a bit of denial going on at some levels where regulations about the use of such things are being made.  Denial maybe?  Impossible that that kind of thing goes on in prison?  Must be a government decision since it does not make a lot of sense.

It was nice meeting some of the colleagues that Leo talks about a lot.  We laughed a lot and lamented some. The meal at Mandolins was superb.

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That was a fun music practice tonight.  We were really going – Thomas was on the drums for the first time – that is actually intending to play them on Sunday.  Johanna was singing and playing guitar.  Molly on bass, Mark and Matt on their guitars, Janet on piano and me on my recorder.  Then in comes Nigel!  Now we are really swinging – he on the trumpet.  That was really a lot of fun and we played together well.

And Matt had written a new song so we all got to give that a try – and suggest a “cooler” title for it. 

Worship – it happened tonight while we were practicing.  We’ll see what happens on Sunday. 

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