Tag Archives: summer holidays

Finding Balance

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It’s been Summer Holidays for more than a month. Traditionally, it’s a time of year where I lose my mind, trying to fit in the demands of the irregular work schedule, my own writing desires and the various activities (or not) of the Weasels.

This year has seen a few changes, with Eldest Weasel leaving school and filling some of her free time with volunteering at the Vancouver Aquarium and the Pacific Northwest Raptor Centre.DSCN8839

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Middle Weasel took a brief course that will help her if she decides to continue helping out on ice – she’s done her Ringette Ref training, and now is ready to help teach a new generation of Ringette players.

Tiny Weasel took two weeks of the school-run summer entertainments and we’ve all traveled with my parents who were over for a fortnight.

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None of us are in this picture, but we were there – it’s Long Beach, Tofino.

What I have to relearn every year is the trick of balance. I’m not being denied my work time, or my solitude, and the kids aren’t being forced to go out and have fun. There’s time for writing, time for relaxing, time for exploring and time for socialising. There’s even, god help us all, time for watching brainless twits on YouTube blathering about the very latest thing that they found in their breakfast cereal….. I may be a little prejudiced about the value of YouTube as an entertainment delivery system.

Anyway, for every five minutes where I’m convinced we’re not going to get anywhere or do anything, there’s times like this:

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or places like this:

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or discoveries like this:

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I don’t know what state we’ll be in when we reach September, but most years we seem to have done alright. We’ve had fun, been to some interesting places, seen some good people and and spent a healthy amount of time outdoors, as well as getting in some good screen time. This year, I’m going to remember that Summer isn’t about what you can cram in, or what you worry about missing out.

It’s about the balance.

 

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Getting Unbored

This summer holiday is likely to be the longest ever, since Christie Clark’s son doesn’t attend regular schools and so she doesn’t care how long the teachers stay on strike. That being the case, there’s a lot of time to fill in, so I borrowed the excellent “Unbored” book from my local library.

One of the many, many great suggestions for activities and entertainments was using old vinyl LPs to make bowls. I know many guys my age argue passionately for the quality and brilliance of vinyl, intimating that it was somehow the zenith of sound recording and reproduction. I’m more of the opinion that it was easy to scratch, hard to find the track you wanted, prone to skipping and that the only positive was the size of the sleeve meant you got some pretty decent artwork. And no, I’m not a Pink Floyd fan.

So, to turn those useless old Duran Duran LPs into handy chip bowls (because who doesn’t need more of them?):

Step One:

WP_20140812_011Take your ordinary LP. Wipe it clean. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C. While you’re at it, you might want to open the window. A melting record smells a lot like burning plastic.

Step Two:

WP_20140812_012Place the record on a small upturned bowl. Place both record and bowl on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. Get a small child to watch through the window as the record slowly droops onto the bowl. Tell them this was what we did before there was TV.

Step Three:

WP_20140812_010Take a second, larger bowl. When the record has drooped sufficiently, hoik the entire collection out of the oven and place the big bowl over the record and small bowl, squashing it into shape. Flip over both bowls and remove the smaller bowl from the middle. Remember, it’ll be hot. Wear oven gloves (should I have mentioned that earlier?) and press the record to the edges of the bowl. Wait a couple of minutes. This would be a good time to tell the small child what records actually used to be used for.

Step Four:

WP_20140812_14_47_52_ProTurn out your new chip bowl. Or, in this case, FOUR new chip bowls. I don’t actually get to eat that many chips. Or listen to records, come to think of it.

I really enjoyed this pointless activity, of turning something I didn’t use into something else I’m not going to use. Lucky for me, I added a couple of things to this week’s shopping list, so tomorrow I shall be helping the kids experiment with Mentos and Diet Coke. What could possibly go wrong?

 

Have a great summer. (Except you, Christie Clark. I hope yours is rubbish.)