Timeout for New Zealand — a year ago

It’s stunning to me the earthquake in New Zealand occurred a year ago today, and I’m embarrassed to admit I probably would have paid little attention to its aftermath if not for Richard Armitage. But what a difference a year makes. Since ‘The Hobbit’ began filming there, I have met some very lovely New Zealanders, and they have made my association with the country personal.

It occurred to me early this morning how much I feel a kinship with the Kiwis, and really all of the people in that part of the world, when I was reading about experiences during the quake.

Famous Cantabrians’ quake experiences

Cullen Smith | Wednesday, February 22, 2012 6:00

Renowned Christchurch children’s author Margaret Mahy, OBE, was on the move in Beckenham when the quake struck.

“I was in a car going down Colombo St. I thought a wheel had come off but the driver, my helper and chauffeur Lisa Anson, said ‘no, it’s an earthquake’.”

The 75-year-old former librarian said they immediately headed back home to Governors Bay via Dyers Pass.

“We were a bit apprehensive. We didn’t know if the road was open or if we could get through. The earthquake was quite jolty.

Read the rest here.

Mark Hadlow’s situation in particular got to me. My father was in a plane crash when I was a kid. When we first got the news, it was fairly grim. The plane had been mangled almost beyond recognition. It was an hour before we knew if Dad was alive, and I will never forget the feeling of terror.

In our case, my father was very bruised yet able to walk away, but I know there were those in Christchurch who were not as fortunate as my family and Mark Hadlow’s. My heart still goes out to them. If I had it my way, there would be no death and destruction, and there would always be joy in the morning. It’s morning a year later, and I continue to pray that those so severely affected are able to continue healing. Knowing what I now do about the personality of the people from Down Under and Slightly to One Side, I’m confident they have it in perspective but still wanted to share my thoughts.

And a message of hope from their countrymen.

Tangent — All is Right with the World!

Yesterday was a pleasure! If you don’t know why, then I assume you’ve been under a rock for the last 24 hours and don’t realize ‘The Hobbit’ trailer finally came out! See it here.

And for the Frenz household there is another joy, and I’ve got to share it. My son is in his first year away at college and my third child to go to college. Of the three, he is the one SO and I have been most concerned about adapting to academia. He is dyslexic, and reading has been a terrific trial for him. He was nine years old before he learned to read and so naturally was behind. But more than that, he had already begun to think of himself as ‘the dumb one at school.’ Getting help for his dyslexia has been much easier than helping him to overcome this attitude about his abilities. It took years before he stopped saying he was dumb. Thankfully, in his last few years in K-12, he began to understand he had a great ability in math. He also became a wicked chess player and has a diabolical way around a Rubik’s cube. I think his record for the cube is around 20 seconds. He does it at parties to entertain and has even done it with his eyes closed a couple of times but not at 20 seconds! When I’ve said, “And you think everyone can do that?” his response, “Oh, it’s nothing, Mom, it’s just a trick.” Whatever. I know the cube or a chess board or anything to do with logic or a puzzle is nothing to him. He gets it and gets it big time.

But all that wonderful logic went out the window when confronted with the possibility of going off to college. He was terrified. Yet there was no problem dealing with the recruiters for his athletic scholarship. That was another game to him. However, having to go to class and having to possibly read 50-100 pages of material a day and then write something about it?!! Kill me now! was his thinking. Well, he ended his first semester and will receive a 4.0 or something just shy of it. He is pumped as you can imagine, and obviously, so are we. He never believed he could pull that off, and he kept telling us, “Don’t expect me to do as well as the girls. Please don’t expect that!” We would have been happy with his grades as long as we knew he was trying and told him, “Just let yourself learn how to do school.” He did that, but his competitive nature made him go the distance to make those grades.

Mostly, it is the culmination of years of him coming to an understanding that he is capable. Along the way I learned not to be depressed about his struggles. and thankfully, I’ve realized they have made him a better person. He is very compassionate toward others who have difficulties and often finds himself in situations where others need help and now he believes he can help!

I asked him how he would rate his first semester of school on a scale of 1 to 10. He said it was a 10, and I took exception to that, so he said, “Okay, it was a nine and a half since my classes weren’t challenging enough.”

note: A big thank you to bccmee for editing my son’s photo which will go on the Wall of Fame at the high school where he ran track and won two state titles and was All State several times. The photo is beautifully done, and my son also says a hearty thank you for that!

edit: A little clip of the Rubik’s obsession. I noticed his time is slipping a bit. He’s back up to 40+ seconds:

If he did this as he normally does, he let someone else scramble the cube.