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Grafton Community Ice Skating Party

Lake Ripple is one of Eric’s favorite places in Grafton.  For years I’ve been meaning to get him out onto the frozen lake, but I never seemed to get around to it.  Part of the reason is because I’m paranoid about water.  Not for myself, but for Eric.  Putting a kid in a wheelchair on water is like attaching an anchor around his waist.  If anything bad happens it would be just about impossible to save him.  We took him out on a schooner last summer.  He loved it, but I was just glad to get him back on land!

Yesterday was the annual Grafton Community Ice skating Party on the lake.  Since it has been extremely cold recently, I thought this would be a good and safe time to take Eric out on the ice.  The biggest challenge was the rather big, steep hill we had to climb down to get onto the lake.  Aaron and I made it down OK, but halfway down I was thinking, this is really dumb, how will I ever get him back to the van!  But there was no turning back at that point… Luckily, there where plenty of people around and when I was ready to leave, I asked three strong guys who were hanging around the bonfire if they would help me out and they did.  I had Eric in his jogger, which made it easier.   Each one took a wheel and dragged him up the hill.  It was worth it though as Eric was so excited to go “on” Lake Ripple and he will be talking about this for days.

Here is a photo of the twins. Aaron calls that hat his “Fargo” hat!  Of course, Aaron has his video camera with him in order to get some “stock footage”.

Eric could not believe that he was out in the middle of the lake!

A nice bonfire provided by the Grafton Recreation Department.  OK, this fire did make me nervous.  Why doesn’t it burn through the ice?  I went over and asked one of the guys tending the fire and he said, “I have no idea!”  That was not very reassuring.  However, I knew that they did this bonfire thing every year, so I could only assume that we were safe… I tried googling it when we got home, but couldn’t find an answer. If anyone knows why it’s OK to light a fire on ice, please leave a comment.

Getting dark and cold!  Aaron warming up by the fire.

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Winter Concert

Eric is taking chorus in high school.  I’m not quite sure how he got into this class, probably the same way he got into Spanish class in middle school.  But he enjoys Spanish and likes chorus too.

Tonight was the Winter Concert at the high school.  I worry about this type of event, because you never know how he will do.  If there is a crying baby in the audience – which there often is at these school events – that can set him off.  Eric is capable of making quite a scene… I did not take him to the first concert of the year, because he wasn’t behaving very well and I just knew it wouldn’t be good.  But recently, he has been very good (probably for Santa), plus he said he wanted to go.  So, we gave it a shot.  He did super up on stage.  He didn’t sing, but I was just happy that he was well-behaved!  He did get upset later in the evening while the band was playing, but at least all went smoothly when he was on stage.  Yes, a loud baby in the audience.

Hopefully, these events will continue to get easier for him as he gets older.  He is also getting better at handling noise. The problem is that he has a very raw nervous system due to his cerebral palsy and loud sudden noises cause an exaggerated startle reflex.  It’s nothing that he can control, but hopefully he will continue to get better at handling them.

Anyway, it was a wonderful experience for him and I got some nice photos and video, but I can’t say that it was and enjoyable evening.  I’m always on pins and needles waiting for a melt down, but always happy when all goes well.

Here is a photo of Eric with the chorus.

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New England Shivers

New England shivers without power after ice storm

(CNN) — At least 800,000 customers in New England are still without electricity on Sunday after an ice storm ravaged the region, officials say.

President Bush has authorized federal aid by declaring a state of emergency in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Full Story

There is devastation all around us, but luckily we were spared here in the Blackstone Valley.  My sister is still without power; day 4 for her.   Here are a couple more photos.

Backyard, she lost all but one of her trees:

Road:

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Bush declares emergency in icy Massachusetts

A severe ice storm prompted President Bush to declare Saturday that a state of emergency exists in northern Massachusetts, a move that authorizes the use of federal aid to help the recovery effort.

Gov. Deval Patrick declared a statewide state of emergency on Friday in response to the storm, which struck Thursday and continued into Saturday.

By Saturday night, there were 180,000 customers without power, said James Mannion, deputy public information officer for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

In addition, 750 National Guard troops were deployed in the affected area, he said.

“The big problems here are, obviously, the power outages,” he said.

Officials were working to clear roads so that power crews could get in.

Full story

Below is a photo of my sister’s driveway.  We were spared the ice here in Grafton as the temperature hovered just above freezing.  But folks north and west of us were not so lucky.  We had 3 friends stay with us Friday night and my sister and brother-in-law stayed over last night.

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National Day of Mourning

This monument stands on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Cole’s Hill overlooks Plymouth Rock and the waterfront. Every Thanksgiving since 1970, Native people and supporters gather at 12 noon on Cole’s Hill for a “Day of Mourning”. This is a solemn day in mourning of their ancestors, the genocide of their people and the theft of their lands.

National Day of Mourning monument, Plymouth, MA

Plaque reads; “Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of Pilgrims and other European settlers. To them, Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their culture. Participants in the National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native people to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.”

Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and celebrate all the things we have to be thankful for, but I think it’s also important to remember the true history of Thanksgiving.

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