Saturday, April 26, 2008

My poor 'puter

Having computer trouble, it's just seized up and died. Too much anime and manga I think. I'll be doing updates from work, when I can, until I can get the computer up and running again. I think we're going to need a whole new operating system, and probably an upgrade on the graphic card and cooling system, at least. Hopefully it won't take too long, but it's oddly nice to not be wired up for a while.

O has filled his days, formerly spent mostly online watching the aforementioned anime and mange, by buying more anime and manga. Big surprise, lol. He's decided, though, now that he's spending more time in his room with his friends, that he just can't stand the mess anymore and has vowed to pare his possesions down to what will fit in one medium-sized box. I sometimes don't know who this kid is anymore ;)

O's latest interest, actually, a interest re-ignited, is Go, a game he's been playing for a few years now, but he's recently decided to start playing a lot more and a lot more seriously. The American Go Association has some great resources for teaching Go, and O has decided he wants to put together some workshops to teach Go and maybe pick up a few playing partners. He's going to put on a few one day workshops for local people, and for hsers, and is looking into starting up a regular Go night at a local cafe/used bookstore.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Oh how things have changed

Just been rereading the blog here. I didn't realize I've been doing this for over a year now, and I had kind of forgotten just how frustrated I was getting with O there for a while. We went through about a year where things were not great. Not bad, really, but I felt we were just kind of disconnected and I didn't quite know what to do with him, and how to parent him.

As always, I have to worry non-stop about every little thing, am I doing the right thing? Is homeschooling still the right choice for him? etc etc etc... I couldn't figure out if things really needed working on, or he was just going through a transitional phase. And of course, hindsight is 20/20 and I knew that the disconnect and not-quite-working-out kind of phase we were in together wouldn't last, but I do have to have my worries.

Looking back over the last year, it's amazing to me just how much maturing O has done. Ok, he still thinks "Monkey Butter" is the funniest combination of words possible in the English language, but in many (non-monkey related) ways, he really seems so much more mature and composed.

I used to worry a lot (a common theme here, you'll see) that O was a little too malleable, that I could too easily sway him to hold my opinions or see things my way, and that I had to be really careful not to impose my own will on him too much. I worried that he could change his mind so quickly and easily, and I worried about how I could teach him more constancy. Cause, you know, I don't really have enough to do, so I have to find parental worries.

Of course, again, I should have realized that inner strength and constancy isn't something that is taught, but is learned (and I'm learning that this goes for just about everything else.) He's become so much his own person, so quickly. He argues with me, backs up his opinions, sometimes sways me (and no, we don't only debate stuff like the great Han Solo/Boba Fett debate.) It really amazes me lately how much he knows his own mind and his self and how confident he is in both, in both large and small ways.

It's such a bittersweet joy for me, though, watching him in the final phases of his childhood. I really liked, nay, profoundly loved, having a little kid in my life. As far as I'm concerned, there is no "bad age" and each enfolding step in his development was fascinating and joyous for me. Unlike almost all my friends apparently, I loved the 2's and 3's (most of my mom buddies would never go back to the toddler years for any amount of money), but I love how completely in the moment and engaged with the world 2yos are. How seeing a squirrel could give O such incredible joy, how a construction site was possibly the most exciting thing ever!

I never looked forward to a time when he wouldn't be completely dependent on me. I never looked forward to daycare or school as "time off." I deeply loved our hsing time spent tramping the river trail, looking for raccoon tracks and water birds. I never found playing pirate or space man boring. And I am soooo not ready for this to come to an end.

But O is not dependent on me anymore, not really. He even has a job and his own money. He knows how to cook, clean and do the basics of taking care of himself (better than many adults I know.) And I've been fighting this a bit, I think. But I'm finding that, once again, when I let go of my expectations and my wants, and just engage with O and enjoy him, that I'm finding a much more subtle joy in mothering a teen.

Because, as much as he's a pretty independent, pretty confident, pretty self-contained person, he still does need me, in new and more challenging ways. And while it's been frustrating to work out this process, it's a whole new aspect of parenting opening up to me, challenging me to learn how to be his mom. And I love nothing more on earth than that.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

gotta love those Winnipeg anarchists

Spent the afternoon today at the Bike Dump, a free, volunteer run bike repair workshop. I fixed my bike up in a jiffy (all I needed from last year was a tweak on my seat, it kept tipping forward) but O's old bike (not all that old, I bought it at the start of last summer) is in a woeful state. One of the crank rods was bent, the crank itself was cracked, his seat is tippy and dangerous too, his back tire is bent, the gears don't really work and the brakes work too well.

O put about 3 hours into fixing the bike up well enough to ride today, while I did a quick snack shop at Sun Wah, a nearby Chinese grocery store (and one of my favorite places ever.) It didn't really work out too well for him, he and the Bike Dump volunteer got a new crank and rod on, but neglected to check the attachment hole before putting it all together, so O wound up riding home on a pedals that were at a 45 degree angle (or 135 degree angle, if you look at it the other way) rather than the standard, usable, 90 degrees. I thought he was going to throw the bike by the end of our ride home.

No big deal, though, since the Bike Dump has frames and cannibalized parts to put together a new bike for him later in the week. He needs a bigger bike than he's got right now, he's not freakishly big (6'2"), but his current bike, which has the largest mountain bike frame available (26") looks like a clown bike when he's on it right now. He's picked out another 26" frame, but it's a very sturdy ten speed frame, and with any luck, he'll be able to find a seat with a very, very long post next week, either at the Dump, or at a bike supply shop (we may have to pony up the dough for a new part), so it'll be more comfortable to ride.

The Bike Dump is part of an a loose anarchist collective that includes Mondragon, the Emma Goldman Grassroots centre, and Food not Bombs. And what a beautiful example of anarchism in action it is. The space is run by volunteers, runs on donations of both cash and supplies, there are volunteers available to help fix or build bikes, from mechanical experts, to people who've just learned how to change a tire and are eager to teach someone else their new skill. Tools and supplies are organized in freecycled bins and milk boxes, no one is in charge, everyone reminds everyone to put things back where they belong, jumps in to help out with a particularly frustrating repair.

I've had a few discussions over on MDC about the connection between unschooling and the punk anarchist DIY ethic, and this place was such a great example of the open sharing of skills, labour and supplies that I think typifies both worlds at their best.

Top 10 most bad ass people ever

After watching Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back last night on tv, and having a long and (as always) pointless debate over who's cooler, Boba Fett or Han Solo (guess who's side I was on), O decided to write up a list of the 10 most bad ass people ever. Since most of the "people" on his list are fictional characters, we're taking the term people pretty loosely here.

In order:

1. Boba Fett

2. Captain Falcon

3. Chewbacca

4. L

5. Bruce Lee

6. Zolo O's note: his name is
Zolo, NOT Zoro (emphasis O's, not mine, lord knows I wouldn't know a Zoro from a hole in the ground)

7. Han Solo (ahem... 7? I don't think so)

8. Fonzie

9. Genghis Khan (seriously, he conquered most of Asia, and he's behind the Fonz?)

10. Samus

Honorable Mention:

Admiral Ackbar

Thursday, April 10, 2008

O's business card

I'm mildly speechless

Thursday, April 3, 2008

ahh, a day off and springtime

I had what had to be one of the single most stressful days of my life at work yesterday (lets just say that the fact that I only got one hour of sleep because of inventory that had to be done between back to back events was probably one of the better parts of the day, yeesh) so I took a complete sabbatical from responsibility today. Slept until noon (actually, 12:30pm), watched an episode of Spaced (again, O complained that I've already seen it a dozen times at least), and then we went out to run errands and do shopping.

O got his hair cut (hence the picture.) It was down past his chin, largely because he just hates having his hair cut, so it's nice to see his face again. The upside, too, is that now his sideburns are very noticeable, something he's deeply, deeply impressed with (as the only 14 yo in his acquaintance with luxurious sideburns, he's pretty stoked.) We then went to buy some anime and manga at the Japanese gift store, yet another new series, D.Gray-Man. Then we headed off to the library to pick up some books on basic Japanese, Kanji, and some learn to play bass dvd's. O's pretty happy, and will be well-occupied for weeks to come.

Speaking of well-occupied, huge thanks to Michael who sent me a link to GIMP, exactly the free, open license image editing program O needed to do Manga typesetting. He got his 5 page sample manga test 2 days ago is already half way through typesetting the translation, and is learning how to use the software really quickly.

And now, for some more Spaced: