Monthly Archives: June 2008

Last minute details

As we continue preparing to leave on Wednesday I have been amazed at all the little tasks I have added to my list.  Packing my clothes has proven to be the easiest part.  Today I picked up something from the orthodontist, locks for the suitcases, then borrowed  a bag, an adapter and a jacket.  I also photocopied documents for both my family and the group and went to the chiropractor.  Both girls needed minor alterations to some clothes today so out came the sewing machine.  My to do list is shrinking, however, so I am hoping to relax and enjoy Canada Day tomorrow.

The children managed to squeeze in a treat this afternoon.  They joined their Narnia crazy friends and went to see Prince Caspian again.  WIth coupons for free tickets (which we couldn’t use the first time) it didn’t cost a thing.

I continued practising on the laptop I have borrowed and am beginning to feel familiar with the programs which I will need to use in China.  The Stellae Boreales blog now has links to a photo gallery where I hope to post photos every day or so.

When we stop to think about it, it is really quite amazing that L13, A11 and I are off to China due to their years of commitment to learning violin.  L13 has been playing for almost nine years and A11 for eight.  They  have become self motivated and are a big encouragement and help to  each other.  We are way past the practise charts and games I made when they were in Suzuki books 1 and 2.  It is very encouraging to see how they have developed as musicians and hear what their aspirations are for the future.

RIght now, though, I am just looking forward to seeing them play at the entrance to the Great Wall next Saturday.


With less than a week before L13, A11 and I leave for China our days have been very busy.  We finished our school work earlier in the week and were able to devote some time to shopping for a few essential items.  I have also been spending some time learning how to use the new gadgets Andrew ordered in order to make it easier to communicate while I am away.   I hope to be have time and opportunity to update this blog but my first priority will be to post news and photos on the Stellae Boreales blog.

We spent the day yesterday gathering everything together and doing a partial pack.  After recently traveling in Europe with her family a close friend of mine gave me a comprehensive packing list and some helpful items.  We are assuming it will be hot all the time and are packing accordingly.  I do have a pack of medical supplies which take up a bit of room and  some gluten-free rations also.

Yesterday Andrew bought home a lap top generously loaned by a friend at work.  It should give me the flexiblity to work on emails and posts during travel or rehearsal time.  I am aware that our itinerary is a full and exciting one which may see us all just fall into bed at night exhausted.

Back in 1866

Our time in 1866 was made all the more pleasant on account of the company we had.  Twelve young ladies and eight young gentlemen along with some of their worthy mothers and even one fine father spent a day and a night together at Upper Canada Village.

The weather was sunny and pleasant, making it bearable to be fixing meals and doing chores in a few more layers than we are used to wearing.  The clothes truly transformed us all.   It was as though everyone had donned a layer of gentility with their dresses or vests.

Young ladies were to be found in the kitchen baking Grandmother’s sugar cookies over an open fire. Others were engaged in the essential task of sewing, each making for herself a reticule.

While the young ladies were thus engaged the gentlemen were applying themselves to tinsmithing and blacksmithing.  Each one fashioned a candle holder such as no 1866 family would want to be without.

It was indeed a very enjoyable experience, history came alive as the children walked through the “living museum” and were taught by the residents of the village.  Old friendships were renewed as we spent a couple of days with families we first met at co-op years ago.  New friendships were formed as children traveled back in time together.

Upper Canada in 1866

Miss A11 has just returned from the schoolhouse, you can see her copybook in her hand. Her behaviour was more than adequate while in class, she even received a merit award for penmanship. As is entirely proper she is keeping her hat on while outside and behaving like the well mannered, demure young lady you all know her to be.

Her younger brother A7 was also in class with her but seated on the other side of the one room schoolhouse with all the other young gentlemen. Being the youngest student in the school it was up to him to lead the male scholars into the school at the beginning of the day. Just previous to the ringing of the school bell all the boys were to be found behind the building gathered around the rain barrel.

The young ladies and gentlemen did not spend all their time at their studies, there was time for playing and dancing also. It was delightful indeed to see each one put their best foot forward to master a Scottish Reel and then dance it again, along with other dances, as part of their evening recreation.

Check back later for more glimpses of our trip back to 1866.


Today was hot; our first taste of summer for the year. At 9:00am we were on the field warming up for our first game and it was already 25° C. By the time we finished our second game in the early afternoon it was 30° C. At this point Andrew and I had to leave but our team stayed on to play in the tier B final. I haven’t heard  whether they won or not.

Thankfully we did not have to turn up at the Senior Solo Recital in our hot, sweaty gear. We all arrived refreshed to enjoy L13’s three pieces for her Book 8 graduation, A11’s performance of the Souvenir de Sarasate and the rest of the recital. It is wonderful every year to see how the girls have progressed and matured in their playing. It doesn’t seem all that long ago when they were watching the senior students and wondering when they were going to play those hard pieces!

book 8 graduation

Soccer, softball, swimming and sleep

A11 and B7 are playing soccer again this year. They both play at the same time and place, two nights a week. We like the way it is run, they practise for the first twenty minutes and then play for forty minutes; fun, but not high pressure. Both children are really enjoying it and A11’s team is undefeated after nine games, they have had a few ties but no losses. B7’s team has had tasted victory and defeat but they won tonight and that’s what matters to B!

Softball started for Andrew and I the same week as soccer but we have had only one win so far. This weekend is the first tournament, which clashes once again with the violin Senior Solo Recital. We will make it to both but may turn up to the recital in our softball gear! L13 graduates from Book 8 this year which means she performs three pieces at the recital rather than one and receives a graduation medal.

I have been swimming three or four times a week for two months now and, apart from the “getting out of bed to go part” I am enjoying it. The motivation was a very sore back, which though improved, is still giving me some trouble. I have been able to increase the number of laps I do and decrease the amount of time they take.

As I mentioned in my post about my celiac disease diagnosis I have very low iron at present. Low iron often equals low energy. I knew I was pretty tired when I fell asleep in the middle of a science lesson with the girls! I asked a question and then… silence. The girls wondered. Then I woke up, it was a very brief snooze, a matter of seconds actually, but I realised that I had no idea if they had answered the question. I checked whether I had even asked a question. Apparently I had.

Last week I had a quick nap in the orthodontist waiting room and a longer one while receiving an iron infusion. I was in a comfy reclining chair for three hours with an IV in my arm, it was the perfect time for a siesta. Tne next day I tried not to fall asleep while we were watching our history video, I’m sure I only missed a minute or two, but the couch was so soft and I was so tired… and well, you get the idea.

Prince Caspian

The inaugural post on this blog was titled “Children who talk about Narnia… and it was a review of the movie The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. My children have been anticipating the release of the second movie, Prince Caspian, ever since they saw the first one. As many of you know it was released a few weeks ago. All the group of four families attended together, and the general consensus was that it was very enjoyable. Naturally there was much discussion afterwards about deviations from C.S. Lewis’ novel.

Spoiler Alert

The first deviation the children commented on was the kiss between Susan and Caspian at the end. They had been expecting some romance just from watching the trailer and sure enough, it was there. Many knowing looks passed between Susan and Caspian from their first meeting on. Our children were not impressed. I found it amusing that, while on the battle field, Susan would pause, with arrows flying all around her, to see if Caspian was alright and Caspian did likewise even though swords flashed on all sides.

When group of four met later in the week we were able to spend some time discussing what we had liked and disliked about the movie. Many of us agreed that the portrayal of Peter was disappointing. At times he was more of a proud but petty schoolboy than a high king of Narnia. He and Caspian often appeared to be competing against each other rather than working together towards the same end. As L13 pointed out, in the novel the children meet up with Caspian and Peter reassures him that they did not come to take his throne but to put him on it. Similarly we felt that Aslan was not given the prominence he should have had. His appearances were few and brief and his great power was played down.

We thought the night raid on Miraz’s castle was an odd addition to the plot. Peter acted contrary to the advice of others, made the assumption that Aslan was not coming and achieved nothing. Why was the night raid added in and other parts of the story left out?. More celebration after the victory at the fords of Beruna, Caspian’s reunion with his nurse and the schoolboys being changed into pigs are just a few scenes we were hoping for.

Visually the film was impressive. The costumes, the sets, the scenery were all excellent. Apparently Miraz’s castle was built specifically for the film and then completely demolished after filming. All the creatures, both great and small, were very well done. Reepicheep was the chivalrous warrior we expected and the Trufflehunter the wise badger.

Trumpkin, I thought, played the part beautifully. He had the perfect mix of stubborness, pride and humour. Caspian also was well cast. Just before we watched the movie we saw an interview with Ben Barnes (Caspian) explaining that the inspiration for his Mediterranean accent came from Inigo Montoya in Princess Bride. We kept waiting for “you killed my father, prepare to die!”

Lucy was just as appealing this time as she was in the first movie. Of all the children she appeared to have grown the most but was still the trusting, forgiving and fun-loving Lucy we saw in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Despite our discontent with some aspects of the movie, we still enjoyed it very much. The deviations from the book did not stop us from being captivated by an adventure in Narnia. We wondered though, whether someone with no knowledge of the book would be able to work out how it all fitted together. A good reason to read the book. Mind you, my opinion has always been read the book, then see the movie.