Friday, 29 November 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It’s a big weekend in the Duffy household — Mom is digging through the boxes in the basement to deck the halls, and I mean every hall in the house. Christmas decorating is a weekend long event for my family!

Last year, Mom put me in charge of the dining room. Sounds like a big responsibility, but actually, I just follow her step-by-step guide to where stuff belongs—like, how the white poinsettia goes next to the white owl on Mom’s silver tray in the very middle of the table. Or, how she wants only the white candles in the dining room. Green goes in the living room, and so on.

My sister usually sets up the nativity scene and Dad’s in charge of the lights. ALL of the lights. We have white lights on the roof, around the windows and doors, and throughout the hedges along the sidewalk. Green and red lights flicker on the big evergreen tree in the front yard. And don’t even get me started about the lights for our INSIDE tree—Dad uses about 15 strings of them. Every single light has to be perfectly placed and spaced. It takes forever.

I used to think December 1 was too early for putting up holiday decorations, but with the amount of snow in my front yard? It’s already looking a LOT like Christmas. Tis the season, indeed!

Whoops, dad’s already caught in a string of lights :-/  Gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. – Happy Hanukah to those who celebrate!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

To the beat of my own drum

We’re learning all about the drums in school this week in celebration of National Drumming Month. Not just the actual technical aspects of drumming—it’s a lot of work!—but also, what drumming symbolizes in different cultures.

Did you know that drums are found in every culture in the world and have existed since before 6000 BC? That’s a super long time!

I can’t possibly talk about every kind of drum, or even what drumming means to different cultures (there’s so many, and you should look it up sometime…), but I thought I’d share my favourites from class.

In AFRICA, drums accompany a bunch of different types of ceremonies such as births, deaths and marriages. But in ancient times, drumming was used to stir up emotions before battles. The noise would cause your adrenaline to kick start, kind of like when I hear the starting pistol at track and field races.

In MEXICO, drums are treated with respect! In fact, my teacher says temples and altars are dedicated to them. Drums are considered an imitation of natural sounds and a magical means of communication. Sounds like something I could use in one of my stories, right?

Music is an essential part of life in AUSTRALIA, and the drums play a key role in teaching about culture, the land, human nature and even the supernatural. I think I need to learn a bit more about that.

And finally, there’s JAPAN. In class, we learned about these drums called Talko Drums. Apparently, they’re associated with the Gods. I really want to hear one of them played sometime. Maybe I’ll YouTube it…

Anyway, I gotta jet! Have a super weekend.  

- Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. Yes, I’m asking mom for a pair of mixing spoon drumming sticks that I could use at the kitchen table in my Christmas stocking…

Friday, 15 November 2013

The big sleep debate

I’m a pretty typical kid—I don’t like getting up early on school days, I like staying up late, and on the weekends, I really like to sleep in.

This is where my Mom and I have a difference of opinion. I get that maybe sleeping past noon is going to mess up my sleep pattern for the week. But unless Mom’s making her famous waffles, I’m not crawling out of bed before 9 a.m.

Mom isn’t convinced. So, I looked up the sleep needs for the average teen.

Did you know that during sleep, some pretty important body functions and brain activity occurs? Teens need about 9.25 hours of sleep per night—I got that straight from the National Sleep Foundation website.

When teens don’t get enough sleep, they can get moody (just ask my Mom). Lack of sleep limits your ability to learn, listen and concentrate. You can eat more, or choose the wrong foods (like chocolate and soda) because you don’t have the energy to wait for or make healthy meals.

But worst of all? Not enough sleep can result in poor performance. Gasp!

See why I need to win the sleep debate?

I plan on turning off my alarm clock tonight and when Mom tries to wake me up, I’ll be prepared for the debate this time.

Gotta jet!

- Chase Superman Duffy

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Remembering to Remember

We had our annual Remembrance Day ceremony at school yesterday. Maybe it’s strange because although I understand WHY we celebrate Remembrance Day, war isn’t something I think about a lot – thanks to the men and women who have given their lives or service to ensure Canada remains free.

Still, the school Remembrance Day ceremony is one of my favourites. This year, a war veteran gave a really awesome speech about the importance of remembering, and shared some of his stories. I was on pins and needles listening to him. It was so fascinating! Our school choir sang a beautiful song. My friend Sophie is in the choir and she was amazing. A Grade 7 student read a really touching poem about Flanders Field. Plus, the younger kids made wreaths. Our gymnasium looked really great.

I’m spending some time with Grandpa this weekend. He lost his grandpa in the war and every year, we remember him. Sometimes, we just sit quietly at the graveside. Other times, Grandpa tells me stories his father shared with him. Sounds like my great-great Grandpa was a pretty awesome man. I feel sad for Grandpa because he didn’t get to know his grandfather; and it’s a reminder for me to reflect on how lucky I am to still have MY Grandpa…and how fortunate I am to live in Canada-a free nation.

Gotta jet! Don’t YOU forget to remember this Remembrance Day. (And wear your poppy!)

- Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 1 November 2013

Halloween candy overload

Oh my M&M’s! I brought home quite the bounty of Halloween candy. Not only was my Frankenstein costume a hit, but our whole group was a monstrous spectacle. We had so much fun!

But there’s no way I can – or should – eat all of this candy.

I’ve sorted it and counted it, and exchanged my Tootsie Rolls for my sister’s licorice. My Mom threw out anything that wasn’t wrapped properly, or looked suspicious. And I gave Dad all of my Snickers bars.

That still leaves WAY too much candy.

I can’t just throw it away. So I did some research for ideas on WHAT to do with all of the leftover candy. Here are  five ideas that I’ve found – beyond sharing soft candies with the seniors at the seniors’ lodge, or adding to our food bank gifts, of course:
  1. Freeze the chocolate bars. That way, they won’t go bad, and I can ration them out. Mom says I can use the big freezer.
  2. Save the hard candies for Gingerbread houses. Those kits never give you enough candy.
  3. Candy art! Check out this fun mosaic:
  4. Make homemade trail mix by mixing in the M&Ms or Smarties with nuts, granola and dried fruit like raisins. A perfect snack for me at practice!
  5. Baking projects. Mom says the peanut butter cups are perfect for brownies, cookies or muffins.

Hope I gave you some good ideas…

Gotta Jet!

- Chase Superman Duffy