Capping it off: On the evening of Tuesday, May 22nd, Cameron and all the other 9th graders at Kamiakin Junior High presented their final graduation projects, called CAPStone (Community Action Project) [See Cameron's Album]. Planning for the projects began late last year, and all students were required to volunteer at least 15 hours in the community and then use their analytical and writing skills to research the issue addressed with their volunteering and create a presentation explaining that issue and their work. Cameron spent two hours a week volunteering at a local retirement community called Madison House, eventually giving over 20 hours. He spent time with residents (playing backgammon and "acey-ducey"), helped out with small chores, and even taught residents how to use their Nintendo Wii. He enjoyed his time with the residents and hoped to continue even after CAPStone was completed.
Clear the roads!: On May 14th, Cameron attended his very first driving class. He'll be taking classes two hours a day, three days a week for five weeks at SWERVE Driver Training. On May 16th, Amy took Cameron to the local Driver's License office to get his learning permit so that his dad can give him driving practice. (Amy chooses not to supervise driver training for a while; she doesn't want to traumatize Cameron with sudden screams and passenger-side braking.) Cameron is excited; for him, it seems to have taken forever to get to this point. Mom is nervous; for her, 15 years seem to have passed in the blink of an eye. [For Cameron's view of learning to drive, see Cameron's Album.]
Show biz: After six weeks of rehearsing for three hours a day, four days a week, Cameron and 28 other classmates spent three nights (May 3rd, 4th, 5th) acting, singing, and dancing their way through a Studio East production of High School Musical at Kamiakin Junior High. Despite the fact that Cameron had never performed in a play before—much less sung in a musical—he was cast in the lead as Troy. And with courage, talent, and hard work, he made both school and family proud! The premise of the show, which is based on the 2006 Disney Channel movie, is that kids should be who and what they feel called to be, rather than being pigeon-holed, by others or themselves, into restrictive groups and cliques (Nerds, Jocks, Brains). It was a great message for all, and the experience was definitely a highlight of Cameron's last months of junior high—and for all his family and friends who came to watch. [For more on HSM, see Cameron's Album.]
Basketball star Troy Bolton (Cameron) sings a duet with math whiz Gabriella Montez (Natasha Szilagyi)
It's about time: After uncountable hours in the basement working on both hardware and software, plus business with companies in Bulgaria and Thailand for parts, Jan has sold 20 finished oscilloscope clocks and has begun offering an oscilloscope clock kit for $35.00. The clock is made possible by a board he invented that drives a commercial oscilloscope in XY mode. (It can even make time speed up, slow down, and move backward!) The clock recently received a rave review on RetroThing.com, which calls it "The Geekiest Oscilloscope Clock Yet." It's also reviewed on HackedGadgets.com. Read more about it on Jan's website.
The long, long birthday: Cameron spent April 26th, his 15th birthday, on a very special road trip. His concert band, the Wind Ensemble, left Kamiakin Junior High at 5:00 AM Thursday for an all-day journey to Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, for a band competition. Amy was happy to spend Cameron's birthday with him as a trip chaperone. Along the way the 70-person group, traveling in two buses, stopped for breakfast in Centralia, shopping at Lloyd Center in Portland, the Portland Zoo, and finally the beautiful, flowering campus of OSU. The band represented their school, district, and state by behaving maturely and playing three pieces with distinction. The ride home was long, as the buses didn't arrive back in Kirkland until 12:30 AM Friday. But even Friday's fatigue couldn't detract from memories of a very special day and a unique (and l-o-n-g!) birthday. [For Cameron's view on his birthday, see Cameron's Album.]
Reading the fine print: At 52, Jan finally got his first pair of glasses, prescribed so that he can see distances, not for reading. He complained about having to get them (no sympathy from Amy, who's worn glasses since age 6), but once he tried them on he was amazed at the details he had not been seeing. "I can't believe the difference!" "Look at those trees!" "I can read the fine print from here!"
Easter: Cascade Ridge had a neighborhood Easter egg hunt on March 30th. Sofia loved the snacks and hunting for chocolate-filled plastic eggs. On April 8th, Sofia woke up to find that the Easter Bunny had left her and Cameron baskets with chocolates, jelly beans, gummy bunnies, books, and toys. They also had fun searching the first floor of the house for yet more chocolate-filled plastic eggs. Sofia consumed more chocolate that morning than she'd ever before eaten in a single day. So when she developed a low-grade fever and vomited late in the afternoon at Grandpa's house, where we'd gone for a family dinner, we weren't sure whether the poor girl had a bug or had eaten way too much chocolate. Fortunately, she was feeling better by the following morning—but we're carefully doling out the remaining chocolate. [More about Easter in Sofia's and Cameron's albums.]
Sofia loved her Easter outfit, including straw hat, gloves, and white patent leather shoes and purse.
Family matters: In early March, Jan left Amy to hold down the fort with Cameron and Sofia while he spent a week in Holland visiting his mother in the hospital while she was being treated for a severe leg infection. In total, she spent more than three weeks in the hospital, and we are glad that she is now recovering well.
We can't believe it—more snow! On February 28th, the greater Seattle area received yet more snow. At our house, 6 inches accumulated! That's very unusual at this time of year. Sofia loved playing in it, but it caused great disappointment for Cameron. His concert band had spent months working toward a band competition in Victoria, B.C., on March 1st, but because of the snow, his school district cancelled all field trips for the day. To add insult to injury, his school did not close but opened one hour late. Never before has Cameron been sad to see snow on the ground!