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Friday, December 23, 2011

Almost here...

After writing the last post, I did get some rest but unfortunately it came along with the stomach flu!  I spent the entire day Sunday sleeping and most of Monday too!  I was supposed to work at the parts counter for the week, but when my boss saw me on Monday morning, she sent me home.  Thankfully, a friend was passing by to say hi and she took me home.   What a crap way to start the week, no pun intended. 
I did manage to get the presents shipped to the Island, (and in time too) and actually got other presents wrapped and under the tree.  Unfortunately, I did not get to see any friends before they took off to other locations, so I have some happy catching up to do in the New Year.  Perhaps a lovely girls dinner in the future?

The baking that I had pictured having finished by now, is not, but I'm not sweating it.  It may get done, it may not.  I have 3 little Christmas/December projects that I was supposed to be doing all along, but those too did not get done.  Or started.  Oh well.  Maybe I'll get to them next week, we'll have to see.  I did not want to go into grocery stores this week, but I just remembered that I need to get some mini marshmallows for the ambrosia.  I should go and do that now, as I may not make it out for a very long time.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A not so lazy day

By Wednesday, I was ready for school to be over so I could have a lazy Saturday.  My dream was to stay in my pj's all day doing nothing except enjoy myself.  Alas, that was not meant to be.  I had to drive Chris to work and because I'd been awake since @6:30, I decided to get up and go to the gym after dropping him off.  When I got home, our disaster of a kitchen greeted me, sink full of dishes and all, so that needed to be taken care of.  Next up is the bathroom and living room.  I realized that my parent are leaving for Victoria on the 23rd and I have not sent their gifts down, so that needs to be packed for the bus for tomorrow at 8 am.  Yikes!  So much to do and here I thought I'd get to relax. 
Oh well on to the next task.

This is what I need to clean up. 

Bad Timing

This week was brutal.  Not only was it the last week of school before Christmas, but I had 2 appointments and a deer hit our car!  The deer decided he didn't like the ditch on Tuesday morning and now our car looks like this:


I did not take it well and thankfully, Chris got us to school safely even with me hyperventilating next to him.  It was a very long day.  Now we are driving the red car around and remembering why we bought our Subaru in the first place.  The heater can barely keep up to the cold, and thankfully it's been pretty mild this week.  We don't have to drive the coolies for a bit, so hopefully we get a loaner car before we get back to school.  We are both going to be working next week so there will be juggling of car use, which is a real pain.  The important thing is that we weren't hurt (the deer didn't make it) and we do have our beater Hyundai for in town driving.  Thankfully, we didn't have any big plans to drive long distances this Christmas.

After next week, I plan on doing a lot of relaxing.  This weekend will be mostly cleaning up the house and baking.  I should probably wrap some presents too...  hmm I should get on to that To Do List.
Hope you have a great day, and if you are a teacher- I hope you're first day of holidays is wonderful!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sundays

Ahh, beautiful Sunday!  Now that I am not working a second job, I can enjoy Sundays  a little more. 

I have been baking for the last 2 days (and enjoying it which is the most important thing) and this afternoon, while doing the 100th batch of dishes, I looked out to see the sun finally shining.  It's been a few days since we have seen the sun here in the North Pole.  It was a beautiful picture from my nice warm kitchen, and I decided to be a part of it.  I called down to the man-cave to see if he'd like to come with me.  He had to double-check he'd heard right, a walk?  Yep, a nice breath of fresh air was just what I needed and maybe a bit of real sunlight, if we hurried.  We are after all seeing the sun start to set at 3:30 right now.  I have been using a little blue light the last couple of months to see if it helps during the long Winter months.  It seems to, or at least I'm tricking myself. 

I have also been keeping myself busy, even in the evenings.  I have taken a couple crafty classes the last couple of weeks, and it's nice to at least be in the same room as like-minded people.  I used to crop every weekend when we lived in P-Town, but since moving to town, I don't have anyone that will come over regularly to scrap.  I think I should start bugging people (Hello, Ang) to do it more often.  I might even be willing to pack up sometimes to go somewhere else. 

As we head into the last week of school before the holidays, I am filled with many emotions.  One, panic- it's already December!  Where has the time gone, and have I been teaching enough?  I'm a little behind my last year's preview (that I did for myself and didn't turn into my admin), but am reminded by a wise friend at work, that this is a different year, with different kids.  Two, excitement.  2 weeks away from the classroom to regroup, plan and organize.  Also a few lazy and sleep-filled days.  Three, happiness.  Mostly because of emotion number 2, but also I will be able to get crafty and enjoy myself with no deadlines.

As I look out my big window onto the frosty world outside, I feel relaxed and looking forward to the week ahead.  I hope you have a wonderful week!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I have been a bad blogger again.  I was picking up there for awhile, but life has gotten in the way again. 

I can't believe that it's December, and for the classroom, it means packing in a month's worth of crafts and activities into 16 days.  Well less when you think of weekends.  I love Christmas, and I love all the crafts and cards and music and... well I guess you can get the point.  Yesterday we went into school (yes on a Saturday) fully expecting to put a full day in as we both had long lists of things to accomplish.  After about 15 minutes we were freezing!  It was 11 degrees in the school, and pretty uncomfortable after a while.  I couldn't concentrate on what I was supposed to be doing and my fingers had a hard time grasping anything.  Instead I started to decorate, and took a couple of hours covering things with colourful paper.  The safety guy from the district came by on Friday, so I'm hoping that I'm safe.  I did manage to get my advent calendar up for the kids, so we'll be starting that on Monday with an accelerated schedule, as I have 21 kids and 16 days to go. 

At home we got the Christmas tree up on Friday night, after Mike, Heather and Lily went home.  Other than that, nothing else is up.  I also have a couple of projects that need some finishing touches in the room of scrap.  Today is the day that I get the decorating finished, mail the letters to Santa, get the room of scrap cleaned up and.... okay that list is getting a little on the large side and I should really get to it.  I promise to post some pics soon of the projects etc.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The End?

Well I finally called it quits on my second job.  The money was a nice addition, but I was slowly losing my mind.  Being rushed and out of time constantly was not making for a very happy life.  I wasn't seeing my friends or doing anything except working.  If I wasn't at CT, I was prepping and teaching and running around like a crazy person.  The moment I gave my notice, my headache lessened and my life snapped back into focus.  I will miss that extra cash flow for my addiction, obsession, hobby,  but already I am feeling better.  My supervisor called me on my last shift to see if I will work over the Christmas holidays, and I might, but only for a limited engagement.  I know that I need a break too, so I am still considering it.  We'll see.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Out with the Old and in with the New

I have the best friends in my life, I really do.  They understand me, and know that I have a crafty addiction and even help support it. 
My friend Michelle called me last night and offered to gift to me her Silhouette SD... how great is that?  I was a little surprised, but accepted readily as Mac has not been agreeing to download the software for my old Silhouette. 
I bought my original Silhouette 4 years ago, after much debate and thought.  A machine that hooks up to my computer and will cut images?  Awesome.  I didn't use it as much as I thought I would.  The process was a little more techie than I'd thought, and it didn't do some of the things that I really needed it to do.  Bottom line, I wasn't ready for it.  So it stayed in a box for a while after we moved, and then was displayed in a prominent place in my scrap room.  It begged me to use it.  Finally, I started to understand it's functions a little more and incorporated it into my scrapping by using it for titles and other text elements for my pages.  Since then, they have upgraded the software and made it a little more user friendly.  I keep it for certain things, as it only cuts 8.5X11.  I also have a Cricut Expression that I use as well. 
When I got  Mac a few months ago, I'd made sure that the software was compatible, but for some reason, my old Silhouette was not recognized.  Mac didn't like it I guess.  I was afraid that I would never be able to access my thousands of downloads again, when I got the phone call from Michelle.  So now there is a new kid on the block and Mac has accepted her.  Peace reigns in the World of Scrap.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween

The pumpkins are dark and the candy bowl is empty and Halloween is over for another year.  We did get 102 kids tonight, but it was all over by 8pm.  The sounds of fireworks can still be heard every once in a while, but the porch lights are off and the kids are in bed... I hope. 
Today was a blur of activity today at school.  We started with a SOAR assembly and then my class headed in to carve pumpkins.  I bought 5 pumpkins and the kids decided on names, estimated how many seeds were inside and then collaborated on a design for their pumpkin creations.  On Friday I wasn't sure that I would be able to do it, as only one parent volunteered to help.  Luckily 3 more parents came through last minute and then a 4th to help clean up.  We had those pumpkins carved and cleaned up by 10:30, in time for recess.   The smell of pumpkin was in the air, and I realized that it's not a smell I like.  It's better than farts, but still not a favourite smell of mine. 
When the day was done, and the last student out the door, I realized that I had a pounding headache and really didn't feel well at all.  I was completely done in.  There were a thousand things that I could have been doing in my classroom, but I was exhausted and was not interested in any of them.  We packed up our 9 pumpkins and came home.  We didn't get anyone at the door until around 5:30, but they kept coming after that.  Chris was down in the basement watching the Blackhawks, but came up during intermission to help give out candy.  I like that the last kid and my 102nd trick or treater was from my class. 


I have spent the rest of the night baking the billions of pumpkin seeds so that we can take them into class tomorrow for a snack.  Baked pumpkin seeds is a smell I like. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Time for what?

As October winds down, I am asking myself where the time went.  My schedule has been pretty full the last couple of months and I am starting to feel the pressure a little.  I have very little free time lately, so not much has been happening in the Room of Scrap.  I have managed to buy a few things that I have been longing for, but unable to use the stuff as I am usually working.  My latest addition came a couple of weeks ago and it sits on my table waiting to be used. 

I will be working a little bit longer, but I think that my second job needs to come to an end for now. 
School has been going well.  It is the end of October and the kids are getting used to the routines and learning to be a little more independent.  Problem solving is one thing that we are definitely working on this year.  
Life has mostly been work, but just traveling from one location to another, and not really spending any good time in either place.  I guess we'll see what the next few weeks bring.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Giving Thanks

Today as the sun broke through the clouds and the wind died just a little, I thought of all the things that I have to be thankful for.  I thought of all the places that I've been, the stuff that I have, my cute little house.  I have a great job in a career that I love.  I have my health and hobbies, but I have to say that my husband, my family and friends, my freedom and safety were all in the top five. 
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

crafty time

Well kind of.  I have been pretty busy, so the crafty stuff has been pushed to one side lately.  I have managed to go shopping though and have in my possession the BoBunny line ETC.  It was the only thing that came out of CHA (other than Tim Holtz's stuff) that made me excited.  I bought the 12X12 paper pack (which I never do), the 6x6 pack, the mini album, card stock stickers, and the chipboard alpha.  What am I going to do with all this?  I don't know yet, but something fabulous.

I have finally finished the clipboards that I started ages ago and they are happily sitting in my cupboard at school, waiting to be used.  
It seems that lately, I have less and less time to get crafty, but more and more supplies to use.  I think I'm going to use the holiday Monday to use some supplies that have been just hanging around.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A day

I woke up to a gray, damp cloudy day.  As I was getting ready for the day ahead, the secretary comes into my room to tell me that I am getting a new student.  I am up to 21 students while the teacher next door has 18.  Then while I am trying to get stuff ready for him (name tags, desk, etc,)  I get a parent phone call.  My Superstar was terrible all day long, actually spending a portion of the day out of the class.  We had to rush out of school to go to ICBC to take care of an inspection of the damage from last week.  We met friends out for dinner, (which had been the bright spot in my day) and in the second bite of my yummy meal that I waited over half an hour for, I pulled a big piece of plastic out of my mouth and stared at disgust as it dangled from my wrap.  I sent it away and waited another 15 or so minutes for 4 chicken fingers that the waitress informed I was going to pay for.  After processing this information, on her next stop at the table, I told her they were good and that I wasn't paying for them.  It was non-negotiable.  I was late for my appointment at the gym with Ang, and felt gross for most of it.  After the work out, I felt better and was able to shrug off the yuckiness of the day. 
Thankfully, that day ended and the next was awesome.

Monday, October 3, 2011

hello beautiful

Well I've done it.  I've gone over to the other side.  I am now an isheep (as my husband so lovingly calls it)  I needed a new computer this year, and while my brother was visiting, he helped to convince me that Mac was the way to go.  I have to admit that the ease of use also made me reconsider my options.  I had used a Mac for my job a few years ago, and appreciated the operating system but the computer I was given to use was a POS.  That coloured my view I have to admit.  Now I am the owner of this beautiful machine, which so far has not given me any trouble.   It's thin, light and hasn't given me a lick of trouble since I first turned it on.  I do not have a good history with computers, even out of the box they give me some kind of issue.  Not this one.  I am happy.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

melting down

Last week was a little rough.  I was getting sick, not sleeping well and feeling like I was going around in circles.  I did manage to get to the gym with Ang both days, even though I felt like I just wanted to sink onto the couch.  It was at the end of a very long day, when I'd had enough.

I had errands to do, place a complaint at the post office, pick up laminating, pick up a parcel and then get home in time to make dinner so I could get to the gym.  Everything was going on schedule until I came out of Staples.  I had parked beside a truck and an empty spot, but as I was pulling away a truck honked, flagging me down.  I stopped (even though I didn't recognize the driver) and rolled down my window part way.  He handed me a paper while explaining that while he was watching a van opened their door onto my passenger door, leaving a big mark and slight dent.  He took down all the information.  What  a good samaritan!  I was shocked and disgusted when I got a look at my car.  That pushed me over the edge.  I thanked the man, got in my car and drove home taking deep breaths the whole way.  I waited until I got inside my house before I lost it.  Stressed much?

I still managed to get to the gym, and felt better for it, but what a week!  I think I need to manage my time a little more.  I'm just not sure how.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

duties

Job action is frustrating.  While I know that it is my duty as a member of the union, it goes against many things that I believe in.  We are supposed to have limited contact with our AO, dividing our staff and making it difficult to do our jobs.  We are also supposed to limit our contact with parents, not doing any formal reporting or meeting outside of school time.  This is making it difficult to build relationships with our parents.  I like talking with parents about their kids and I like getting to know them.  Don't get me wrong, I don't love doing report cards and I think the October interim report is ridiculous, but it's the conversations and the face to face interactions that I miss. I wish there was a way that we could have an effective job action but still build the community and support for teachers that is needed.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Already?

Well it happened, I'm sick.  I knew it would happen, but I thought I'd be able to hold out until the end of the month.  I think it was a combination of being really busy, starting up school with germy little people, and sleeping poorly.  I was holding my own until 3 consecutive nights of bad sleep.  I'm taking the weekend to get better and treat myself well.

That being said, I have the heat on (sorry husband), and am enjoying my cup of tea. I think I need a nap...

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reading

I've been trying to read a bit more lately.  I was devouring books at the start of the summer, but working full-time slowed that down quite a bit.  Currently, I have a couple of books on the go.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
It's a book of fiction based on the life of Laura Bush.  It's pretty interesting, and I've checked out some of the information in the book.  When it came out originally, the Bush family was not impressed.  I understand why.

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
This is a very disturbing but riveting book about a real estate agent who is abducted and held captive for a long period of time.  As much as my skin crawls when I'm reading the heroine's story, I can't seem to put it down for long.  I do remember that real estate agents were being targeted for crimes a while back, but the author found inspiration while she herself was an agent. 

A couple of books have been returned without being finished, they just didn't capture my attention enough;
The Happiness Project (boring), and One Day (I'll just see the moving instead)

What have you been reading lately?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This week was a busy one for sure.  We had the first full week with our classes, I worked 2 nights, went to the gym with Ang 2 times, and went to a ball party.  Whew! 

I had forgotten what it was like at the beginning of the year, when you have to teach all the routines in your classroom to a new bunch of kids.  I had been spoiled during the first week because my students from last year remembered the way things go and moved through the class naturally.  My new students are getting there quickly though. 

I made the decision to go to the gym this week, over doing anything else.  It was strange because I've never put any kind of physical activity over the rest of my life.  I was sore for the rest of the week, but I'll do it again this Monday and Wednesday.

The working 3 shifts a week is okay.  Mostly I'm feeling like I'm short on time, but I'm not stressing about it.  Other things will get done when they get done.  I have been spending much less time on the couch, (therefore less blogging for sure) and trying to find that balance between things I want to do (like read a novel) and things I need to do (cooking dinner, cleaning the bathroom).  The one good side effect is that my insomnia is at bay right now and I have been falling asleep quickly and staying that way.

Trying to be social in this crazy schedule is a challenge, but I'm still managing to do that.  I saw the moving "The Help" on Friday night with Heather.  It was a good movie.  I would watch it again.  The book was better, but the movie was good. 

Today is Sunday and I have a long list of things that I am supposed to get done on this one day off of mine.  I have to be honest and say that not all of them will get done.  I have a couple of hours before the football game is over and we go do errands.  I really want to escape into my room and get crafty.  In fact, I can hear my room calling my name....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

36 is here

Yikes I'm 36 this year!  When did that happen?  I had a wonderful weekend (although I did have to work on Saturday) involving good food, wine and friends.  It's a really good combination.

Monday is right around the corner, and have I finished all the things I was supposed to for the classroom?  Nope, not even close.  I do think I get a prep tomorrow, so I should be able to get something done then.
I have a straight grade 2 class again this year, which is really exciting for me.  I had them on Friday for the first time, and they were so excited to finally be in my classroom, it was hard to keep their attention.  This week will be for setting up routines and groups and getting them used to collaborating with each other. 

Summer is finally here, with hot, sunny days and we are inside for all of them!  I was very fortunate to have a nice day for my birthday this year.  I could actually enjoy some time out on the deck with a nice Portugese wine.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So I was sitting at my desk this morning, feeling a little out of sorts, when I get the most unexpected surprise. A parent came in with these for me and absolutely made my day!  As I drank my tea and waited for the day to begin, I looked at these beautiful flowers and couldn't help but smile.

We spent the day pushing our new school motto with various activities and finished up with a fun day outside in the beautiful sunshine.  Not a bad way to get to know the kids and build community, while we wait for classroom numbers to shake down.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Sweet Surprise

I went to pick up my things at the Fair and ta-da, I won some categories!  I was surprised.  I entered all 6 categories and came away with 3 first place ribbons and a second.  I didn't get to take a good look at all the entries, but I was happy and proud.  I have never entered any challenges or shown my projects to anyone outside of my network of friends and family. 
The mini album was made with Graphic 45 paper, grunge board and lots of Tim Holtz dies and inks. 
The second place item, was made using an old sewing pattern, paint, Maya mists, Tim Holtz masks and scraps I had laying around.  I also added some TH metal and tissue tape.  I was inspired by a piece that Julie Fei-Fan Balzer did a while ago. 
The journaling piece was the story of our engagement, and I didn't have any pictures for that page, so I used memorabilia from that weekend.  The paper is Basic Grey, the frame is Making Memories and the cardstock is Bazzil.
The 2 smaller pages are from a book I did for Chris about his trip to Hawaii (pre Jen), and I have to say I don't remember the products I used for it, as it was many years ago that I did this layout. 
Overall, I am happy that I entered, just for the experience.  The prizes weren't too bad either ;0.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Crafty things

I have spent some time lately doing some crafty things, mostly to take my mind off of the impending school year.  I entered some things into the Fall Fair for the first time.  It was a very hard choice for me, deciding what I would enter.  Many of the projects I do are personal and about Chris and I, so it's putting our lives out there in the community.  I wonder how many parents or people from the community recognized our pictures?  I wonder how many comments I'll get in the upcoming month? 
I have been doing really well using up old stuff that I've had for some time, and surprised at how well the projects have been turning out.  I have really decided that I don't do bright and cheerful very well, but manage grungy and messy almost always.  A project is not complete without some distressed edges, ink and even paint or splatters. 
I'll let you know how I do at the Fair!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm starting to freak out ...

just a little.  I had set myself up for all kinds of professional development this summer, and none of it happened!   I don't know what happened, I had the best of intentions.  I was going to check out all this stuff I'd bookmarked and heard about during the school year.  Then June 30th came and I checked out.  Even now, I am finding it hard to read all the blog posts from education gurus and such.  I haven't done nearly enough readings and explorations.  My days off right now are spent recovering and the last thing I feel like doing is work. 
Hopefully this wears off really soon.  August is spinning away quickly and I have to get into my classroom and get it ready.  I wonder how many other places don't have their classes set for the first week of school?  I find it very irritating that my first week is spent babysitting kids while doing "community building" activities like re-reading school rules or making up new school songs.  There are some things that I am looking forward to like Identity Day.  I'm hoping that we can do it in January or February when the Winter Blues are out and about.  We'll see.  Not having staff meetings will be interesting.  Hmmm....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reading

I was on quite a reading binge earlier in the summer, and have added quite a few to Goodreads on my various lists.  One of my goals this Summer was to take part a little more in the book groups that I joined.  That did not happen as I had planned.  I do lurk on the forums, but I just don't feel like I have that much to say.  Once in a while I'll do a review or comment, but lots of time I forget about the conversations after I've viewed them.  I'll try harder.  I have gotten many good book titles from the site and try to recommend it to everyone.  I have been unsuccessful at adding my book shelf widgit to this blog (I just can't get it to work).  Anyway, here are some titles that I have enjoyed recently.


 This one is being turned into a movie and I can't wait to see it.  There were times when my heart was pounding, wondering what was going to happen next.  I think I went through this one in a day.







This is the third title I've read from this author and I enjoyed it as much as the others.  She uses the same foundations for her books, family, history, mystery but makes it new with each story. 
I am still working my way through this one.  It reads more of a what to do, rather than a story, so I don't feel the need to find out what's going to happen next.



I brought this to work with me to read during my lunch hour.  It is sad.  Well written and engaging, but sad.  I can only do a little bit of sad in a day, so I have not eaten this one up as I would with other books.  I think an hour a day of this book is plenty.  Don't get me wrong, I think it's good so far.

This one I did not finish.  I was very disappointed in this book.  I had read Eat, Pray, Love last year and really enjoyed it.  I was under the impression that this was the sequel to that.  I was wrong.  It is mostly a story of a very insecure woman trying to "figure out" what marriage is all about.  Blech.  You don't "figure out" marriage.  I skipped to the last chapter, read the happy ending and skipped all the whining and questioning. 



I almost forgot about this one!  I mostly enjoyed this one.  The look at Bhutan and the people was fascinating.  The story of the author was confusing and not at all compelling.  She would go off on tangents that had no real connection to what she had just been talking about.  It didn't flow well in places.  I think she should have just left out all the personal bits and stuck with Bhutan.  She would dip into personal back story a little, but then back off like she was scared to go into it.  She could have just left that stuff out and had a really interesting book. 




I have a few more on my shelf that I'm hoping to get to soon, but time is running out....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Can you hear it?


Teachers should be hearing it by now.  
The ticking of the clock that is getting louder with each passing day.  It is marking time until the new year begins.  For me, as with a lot of teachers, the "New Year" starts with the new school year, not the traditional January new year.  My teacher brain is starting to wake up a little, winking at the sunshine and wanting to bury it's head under the covers again.  I am giving myself another week before starting to get into planning.  I am still recovering from last year (has it really been almost 2 months?) and I'm just not ready yet.  Soon, just not yet.
I have been dabbling a little in more technology lately.  I have joined Google+, following Twitter, looking at Wikis and my PLN etc., but am finding myself feeling a little overwhelmed at all the options and ideas out there.  I follow links and suggestions from teacher blogs or from Tweets, but I start to get a little overloaded and can't decide what to do next.  One at a time, I've finally decided. Over the next few weeks, I am going to pick one or two things and then work on just those until I am comfortable and have decided whether I want to use them or not.  Then I'll move on.  C and I have also talked about making a list, dividing it between us and then collaborating on the ideas later.  That might be a good way too.
I have to say though, I was reading a blog post by another teacher and was a little offended for her staff when she, after talking about the conference she had taken part in, was wondering where the rest of her colleagues were.  Some teachers want to enjoy their summer, some want to work all the time.  I don't think it's up to any of us to judge one another about what we do in our Summer VACATIONS.  If you choose to do professional development all summer long, that is your choice, but don't slam others because they want to have time off.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gold fever

So on the long weekend, I was pretty tired and decided not to do anything that required any preparation.  The Gold Panning Championships were happening not too far from us, so I decided that would be the destination for the day.  I have always wanted to try gold panning, I don't know why.  It turned out to be a lot like ice fishing.  Really. Boring. 
Anyway, we pulled up to this International event, which amounted to not more than a hundred or so people, and jumped into the action.  After a quick lesson on panning from a loud-mouthed teenager, I got my pan full of sand and rocks and went of into an old trough to try my luck.  They implant a bronze "nugget" and two flakes of real gold into the pile of dirt and it's up to you to find the treasure.  Here's the pictorial evidence.  Unlike the ice fishing, Chris didn't have to step in to take over...




At this point I was not having a good time.
I found my gold!  It took me about 45 mins.  I wouldn't have won any awards.  
 After the gold was found, we went looking around.  Not much to see, but they did have mini doughnuts!  I was so happy to get some, but decided after a couple they were no good so Chris finished them and felt gross for the rest of the night.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In my little bits of down time, I have been working on some scrappy stuff.  I have given up doing chronological pages and projects, as it just makes me stressed that I'm "not caught up".  I just generally grab a handful of pictures and start a page or mini album.  Sometimes it starts with the supplies and I make the backgrounds first.  I've been dabbling in art journaling as well, which has been interesting to try different techniques and mixing them with just words instead of pictures.  It's all an experiment.
Here are some pages that I've been working on:

This documents my horse riding adventure from last year.

This is an old picture I found of me and my brother in Texas.

A layout inspired by Julie Balzer

Although it looks pink, it's red.  It's a little more girly than I would have liked.

Random stuff from a trip to Edmonton last summer.

This is the group picture my Ed program had taken in 4th year.

Another random adventure in Prespatou
 I'm still working really hard at using up old supplies, so you will recognize old paper and embellishments.  My idea is to use up what I have instead of buying more stuff.  Hopefully this will get me some more room.... Chris says that I can't have any more rooms in the house.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Where are the parents?

So it is 5 am and I am awake.  Wide awake.  Why you might ask?  My neighbours went away and have a young man looking after the house.  Whether he is supposed to be in the house or not, I don't know, but he comes and goes.  For a couple of nights, we have woken in the wee hours to air horns, people having a great time in the back yard and the like.   It's great, especially when I have to work in the morning.  At 4 this morning, the air horns and the cajoling in the back yard started.  When I got up, there were some youths in the back yard having a great time.  Did I mention it was 4 in the morning?  The fun didn't stop there, while I was up, I heard one of the girls(?) say, "Oh so we're going to drive around now?"  I know the neighbours van has been parked for a couple of months, I'm not sure if there's insurance on it.  After more slamming of doors, lights going on and off, the driver decides to carefully pull out of the drive.  I was standing at the front window by this time, and I think they saw me, as they were back in about 10 mins.  Did I also mention that none of them looked old enough to drive?
They came back and there was some more air horn action in the house.  They must have gotten brave, as they took the van out again with much hoopla, and this time I called the cops.  (I am cranky enough in the morning at regular hours and now I knew I wasn't going to be going back to sleep.)  When I called, the dispatcher said to call back if the van came back.  It did and 3 members reported.  Of the 3 kids I saw for sure, only one was escorted from the house. 

Where are the parents?  These kids are out and about at 3, 4 and 5 o'clock in the morning.  Don't they realize that their kids are not at home, let alone in their beds?  I have heard parents complain about the jobs that teachers do in the classroom, but where is the foundation that they are supposed to be getting from home?

Did I do the right thing?  I don't know.  Talking to them directly would have gotten me no where, as it is, the young man in charge has little respect for our property as it is.  I think that youth need to understand that there are consequences for their actions and if they are put in a position of responsibility they need to step up and act appropriately.

It is going to be a very long day today....

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What?!?

Things are becoming a little more routine at work, which is nice.  Today there was a little excitement when a customer got on the PA and sang the entire store a little song!  It was badly out of tune and you could barely make out the words, but it was a good 15-20 seconds broadcast to the store.  I was laughing and asked "Who's trying to get fired today?"  That's what I thought was going on.  A little laugh helped the rest of my shift go faster.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Surprise!

It's almost August!  I can't believe that this summer is half over.  I have been completely submerged in my new job, trying to make it through each day.  Yesterday I had some more people tell me that I have to have something.  One was a big crazy lady with a starter relay for an ATV.  I really wanted to tell her to stuff it, but instead I kept my inner soundtrack masked behind a smile.  There was a point yesterday when I had customers 3 deep, the phone ringing on 3 lines and someone from the back wanting something too.  One phone call was asking for a product I was pretty sure we didn't have and instead of wasting time (mine and hers) I just told her that we didn't have it.  Have a nice day!  In that moment, it was exactly what I needed to do for my sanity.  Of course the next customer was wanting a starter for a boat (we don't carry those specifically) and had me pull starters that would fit into a 1978 Chevy.  Starters are a little heavy and I did not enjoy pulling 3 of them down off the shelf, just to have him say over and over "I need it to rotate counter-clockwise"  I don't know what the hell he wanted, and my computer does not give me that information. 
Today is a day off, thank goodness!  I have two in a row this week.  What are we doing for the long weekend?  Nothing too much.  We may head to a gold panning championship (yep gold panning) and maybe find something else to do that doesn't require too much brain power.  Michelle and Bryce invited us to go camping and as much as I would love to, we are not ready for camping.  We may try to find them and take some marshmallows-I love roasted marshmallows. 
Anyway, have a great weekend.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Let me explain...


My understanding of cars and their parts is rudimentary at best.  I can trouble-shoot very little, but I can usually guess which parts of the car things are in.  My computer helps me find the right parts for people (when they can give me the right info to work with)  The computers cannot use VIN#'s, I cannot take other part numbers and just magically make things happen.  You tell me the year, make and model of the vehicle (not snow blower, rototiller or lawn tractor) and then I get a little menu to look up what you need.  Oil filter?  Engine parts #17.  Brake pads, #13.  I then take the store product number and go and search for the part.  This can take a few minutes as things are not always easy to find.  It can also take time when I have no freaking idea what you are after and never  laid eyes on it before.  When you ask for a car battery for something other than a car, you risk that it doesn't fit properly.  That is not my fault.  When you ask for a rear U-joint with an outside ring and you actually need a rear u-joint with an inside ring, that is not my fault.  I give you what you ask for.  Oh and I don't sharpen lawn mower blades!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Know what you want, don't make me guess what you want

When people come to me to help them solve a problem, I love that.  When people bring me wrapped up pieces of @#@$ from inside another part and want me to identify and get them another, I don't love that so much.  The other day, I had an elderly gentleman come in with a rag containing bits and pieces of a ring-like thing.  He asked me if I had another.  Another what?  I asked.  I'm looking at 6 pieces of crap.  Well he didn't know what it was, but it came from inside another part.  So I go to the computer, what year is the vehicle?  Oh it's coming from a rototiller, not a car.  I can't look that up, this is the auto parts desk.  Well he thought that I'd have something that he could use.  My inner soundtrack starts playing.... seriously?  Not only can I not identify the part it came from or what he'd need, neither can he!  This ends with him getting a big smile from me and an apology because I was unable to help.  Hopefully, he found a part at NAPA on Monday.  He was nice.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Week 2 in Parts



Well things are starting to make sense most of the time, but there are still those moments where I look at the customer and ask "What was it that you needed again?"  Most of the time, they are patient.  The ones that aren't get my biggest smile while I'm telling them off in my head.

There are a couple of things that I find a little amusing though.  People coming to the counter, see that there are other customers, and flit about not really in line.  This happened today to me.  A middle aged man came to the counter while I was on the phone and my colleague was with another customer.  Instead of just waiting for a minute, off he went down one aisle after another and then came back to the counter for about 10 secs.  When he saw that we were still with customers, off he went again.  My customers served, I went to look for him and asked him if I could help him.  His snarky reply?  'No I'll figure it out myself.  You guys are too busy, I can't seem to get any help around here"!  I told him to have a nice day, and walked away with a smirk.  He bought the wrong oil filter in all his impatience.  Next time maybe he'll wait his turn.

Another thing that I find amusing are the people that tell me I have to have something.  Example; "I'm looking for a 6 mm bolt for this (points to some part of a car that I can not yet identify) where are your bolt bins."  I smile and say that we don't have bolt bins to which the reply is, "Of course you do!   You have to have a bolt bin."  Actually I don't have to have a bolt bin, and we don't carry open stock bolts.  "Well this is ridiculous!  What kind of mechanic are you?"  This is where I laugh out loud and say that I'm not a mechanic, I just read the parts boxes.. oh and have a nice evening. 

I do get lovely customers that explain things and answer my questions with courtesy and patience.  I like helping those ones solve their problems.  I also get to learn things that I normally wouldn't.  For example I know now how to patch a fiberglass boat, which products to use and how to apply them, thanks to a nice man from Nova Scotia.  I also learned how to make my own gaskets (with material that we sell in aisle 6) from a shy little man.

As the day gets longer, I remind myself of these little moments and laugh off the others.  A reminder to all you out there, remember when you are in a store and the person helping you looks a little harried, be patient.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

So it begins

Today marks my first day back working in retail.  I never thought I'd be back in the red shirt, but here I am.

Just when I thought I wouldn't be working this summer, I got a call on Tuesday morning while enjoying my cup of tea.  I went for an interview later that morning and walked out with a job in the Parts department.  I know that some of you are laughing right now, as my idea of car maintenance is talking to my dad or taking it to the dealership. 

I worked my butt off today, trying to keep everything straight, remembering where things are and what order to key in things in the computer.  I am filthy dirty (car parts are really dirty) and pretty tired physically.  My mind on the other hand, is buzzing with all the things I learned today.  I love learning new things and always enjoy a challenge so I think this job will be good for me. I will be full time for the next month, but when I gets closer to start-up, I will be working less to get ready for school. 

While I was out working, Chris was busy inside the house.  I came home to my new curtains ironed and up, the floors washed and the kitchen cleaned.  So awesome.

The weather is still crap, so I don't feel so bad about working, although around 11 this morning I did think wistfully that I would be on my second cup of tea and trying to decide what I would do for the day.  Oh well, I also thought of the stuff I will be able to buy for the house (and myself) with the money that I'm making in the next few weeks.  I felt marginally better after that.  I have to go now and soak my feet a little and then probably to bed so my body and mind can recover for tomorrow.  Good news is that I have Sunday off, which is our second anniversary.   Where does the time go?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Work, work, work

We have been slowly working on getting some things done around the house.  Some of them easy (cleaning up the yard), and some of them more involved.
Last week Chris decided to tackle the bathroom fan.  You can read a little of his point of view here.  I made myself busy around the yard so that I didn't hear the profanities yelled in frustration.  There was really nothing I could do, except keep a straight face while he ranted and fetch water when needed.  In the end he got it done and it works.  He has also been working on making his man-cave a little more lively.  He has the white background done and is waiting to paint the Chicago colours.  It has been so damp that all painting projects are on hold right now, as I'm not sure the paint will cure.  I have paint for the bathroom and trim to paint all over the house, but in the mean time I've been doing a DIY frame project for my livingroom wall.
We were hoping (well, I was anyway) to get the kitchen painted and new light fixtures put in before September, but this was contingent on us getting part-time jobs for the Summer.  Yes, we are going to work during our summer vacation.  Well we were.  Apparently, even though there are a lot of Now Hiring signs out, they are being picky about who they hire.  We wanted to work for the Summer, but no one wants to hire us because we want to work for the Summer.  They are looking for long time employees in many of the places that we applied, so as of right now, we are not working for the Summer.  Oh well.  I'll just have to wait for my kitchen.  I do have a table on it's way though and I'm super excited about that.
Well I should get going, so many books to read, so little time....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rain, rain go away....

Well we are in the middle of the wettest summer I can ever remember (even coming from the West Coast) and I have to say that it is not inspiring me to do much of anything today.  My poor friends with leaky basements and roofs make me go into my own basement every couple of hours just to check around the perimeter for water.  We had some flooding around town Friday night and today doesn't look any better.  I think it will be a scrappy day for me. 
After the Atlanta scandal, I read more work "stuff", but have decided to use only an hour a day to work.  This includes reading education related blogs, fooling around on Twitter etc.  I was online looking at links and articles for almost 3 hours yesterday.  That's no holiday. 
The living room saga continues.  I have found curtains, decided on wall "art" and was pushing to get it all done yesterday.  The decorating gods had other plans.  It seemed every time I turned around, I had miscalculated or had some issue.  As a consequence, the curtains are still not hung and pictures still not in frames.  I did manage to cook a delicious stew for dinner, make an apple crisp and bake a banana loaf.
 The last couple of weeks I have managed to read a bit.  I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett- it's going to be turned into a movie.   Great book.  I've also finished Distant Hours, Fall of Giants and Juliette.  All very worth my time.  Since the Love in the time of Cholera debacle, I am a little more careful about what I read.  As promised I have a few pics this time.  Have a great day.



The un-hung curtains

 
The eye-sore I get to look at out my front window.

My beautiful lilies, under the the overhang, so untouched by all the rain.

Beautiful Hosta that is doing very well on the South side of the house.
.
Horrible mushrooms that have taken up residence in my front yard.

This is where the pictures will go.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Testing, the way to the future?

As we are moving towards more data driven instruction and using standardized tests to create our plans, I must say that I am getting more nervous.  I have been thinking about this and reflecting on my time in Atlanta, Georgia.  The two years that I spent teaching there were the hardest and craziest 2 years of my teaching career.  Being threatened by students daily, sworn at and the constant struggle to get them to learn was nothing compared to the constant pressure and intimidation that I felt from administration to test well.  I saw teachers transferred to different grades, put on professional development plans and even fired for poor test scores.  That was around 2004.  I can't imagine what it's like now.  There were always whispers of cheating by teachers to make sure their scores were good, but it wasn't something that I listened to very hard.  I know I wasn't cheating, I was trying my  hardest to teach to the test. Especially in the 2nd year I was there, as I did not take the testing very seriously the first year.  It showed on my scores the first year.
I was trying to teach my kids what a sentence and paragraph was, where in the world the US was on a globe and how to get through a day without them punching each other.  Shame on me!  We didn't even have time to get through all the curriculum that was on the test before it was given in April.  I would cringe when we came to the Science and Social Studies questions, but was told by another staffer, that it didn't matter if they knew all that other stuff, they needed to do well in the reading and math portions of the test!
That second year, I made sure that teaching to that test was my main priority.  We practised all the time.  My kids got really good at taking tests.  Did they learn anything?  I don't know, but their scores were good enough that I didn't get any flack from the administrative team.  I was probably the first time I was ever ashamed of the education system and my part in it. 
My county has since lost accreditation because of a lot of political issues and now I am reading that the Atlanta Public Schools have been caught cheating. You can read about it here.  I went through a little of the report to the Governor and it's just sad.
What does it say about the system when teachers are risking their careers, even jail time to have their students appear to do well on tests?  Administrators erasing answers on tests after hours.  Teachers giving signals to students when they have a wrong answer.  All that for a test.  Scary.

Sorry for the long, serious post.   I promise the next one will be lighter, possibly with pictures.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Summer!

July has come and with it some nice weather and of course Summer Vacation.  After saying good-bye to my brother and dad yesterday morning at 8 am, I visited with my friend Kathleen who has said good-bye to the North once and for all.  She has decided to leave her continuing position with the district to go and be closer to family and her support system down South.  I am sad to see her go, but understand that the North was not for her.  Being single and living here is hard and the social opportunities sparse.  She'd had enough and decided to get out. 
After saying good-bye, we got ready to head down to the parade.  After the parade we came home and enjoyed the quiet for awhile.  I realized how tired I was and closed my eyes for a couple of hours before our big night out.  We went to a birthday party for a two year old and I have to say that I haven't had that much fun in a while.  It was good to get together with friends and laugh again.  Now it is summer and the days stretch out in front of me.  What will I do next?  So many options....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Do you hear what I hear?

The sounds of summer are out today.  After a rainy inside day yesterday, the kids were out in shorts and t-shirts celebrating the first day of Summer.  I marvelled at that blue sky I barely remembered and enjoyed the feel of sun on my skin (of course not for too long, I don't want hives).  It's nice to have windows open, watching kids go by on their bikes and people out for a walk.  I even made it out myself this evening. (No I'm not trying to make it snow!) 
With only 6 official days of school left, the kids are ansty, and it's getting harder and harder to keep them focused on anything.   Poor behaviour is up, as my Superstars get more and more excited.  My AO's office is full of little offenders everyday and even she is starting to look like she needs a break.  Having the sun out today helped everyone I think.
Along with the last week of school, we are getting visitors from the Island.  I just hope they bring a little good weather with them.  Dad and Mike should arrive on Friday at some point.  They are driving up and although Dad's seen all there is to see along the way, the trip is new for my brother.  I hope they have some wildlife sightings (from a safe distance) and enjoy the ride up here.   I don't envy the drive.  I hate the drive actually.  The only thing that makes it a little okay is when we go through Jasper and we stop at the Jasper Pizza Company.  That, and Jasper is beautiful and I wish I could live there.
Along with this visit, I am wrapping up the school year (staying away from horses this year), hosting the final staff party, saying goodbye to a friend and of course applying for jobs.  The next couple of weeks are going to be hectic.  If only the sun would shine, it would make everything just a little bit better.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Field Trip in the rain

Well it is that time of year again, Field Trip Season.  When we started the year I asked my AO about field trips and was told that there was no money so I put the idea away.  I had no idea that April, May and June would turn into "selling-everything-you-can" months or better known as fund-raising time.  We as schools are supposed to be supporting the Healthy Schools initiative, but we serve pizza and hot dogs every week, and the PAC sells ice cream floats every once in a while.  When fund-raising time came, classes were selling freezies, ice cream and bake sale items.  EVERYDAY.  What do you get when you give 7 year olds a large tube of frozen sugar?  A wild ride of a sugar high, followed closely by crankiness and melt downs.  So fun. 
Anyway, with all the stuff being sold and me short on ideas, I decided to plan an almost free trip to town.  So where to go in our small community?  After being shot down by some grocery stores, (did I mention that I started calling around on June 5, wanting a date for the 15th?) I made a flurry of phone calls to community services.  The first call was the RCMP.  (I never actually talked to the Constable that planned the tour and was unsure if we would be expected when we arrived!) Next to the Credit Union, where I have a friend in high places (thanks to Sharol) and then to the Library.  I was adding to the difficulty by mixing 2 classes, equalling 41 kids plus adults.  So after some scurrying around and tight scheduling I got it planned.  On the Friday before I looked at the weather.  Rain.  All the other days leading up to the 15th changed slightly, or the rain didn't appear, so I had hope.  On the drive out to work the morning of the 15th, it started to rain.  It never stopped. 

We made it to town with time to spare and our bus driver offered to pick us up if it started to rain a lot.  I still had hope.  My kids were first at the RCMP, and to my relief they looked like they were expecting us.  It was an interesting tour, but we didn't have enough time to see all they had to show us, as the guy I played phone tag with said 25 mins would be long enough.  He lied.  We were there for 45, and it still wasn't enough time.  We hurried over to the bank and had an interesting walk through of the behind-the-scenes for around 30 minutes.  When we came out on to the pavement, it was sprinkling.  It didn't look like it was going to get worse, so we set off to our place.  Half way there, the skies opened and we got absolutely soaked!  By the time I got the kids in the house, they were soaked through and so were the adults.  I threw 3 loads of socks and jackets into the dryer, hoping that they would have something a little dryer to put on when we left for the library.  I was so concerned, but realized that the kids didn't care.  They were so excited to be at my house, that's all they could think about.  Chris' class showed up about 15 mins later (on the bus) and headed downstairs.  We had 40 students and 8 adults crammed in our little house.

After lunch, we got on the bus and headed to the Library for our tour.  At 1:55 we got back on the bus and headed back to school to arrive just in time to send them home.
Overall, things went well.  Yes it poured all day long and we couldn't picnic outside or play games at the park.  I also didn't feed them ice cream (can you imagine the mess?), and we ran a little late, but the kids had a good time and I didn't hear any complaining.  That made it worth it.
We saw the kids onto the bus home and then beat a quick retreat home to clean up the house.  45 minutes later, 2 bathrooms scrubbed, vacuming done top to bottom and floors swiffered, we collapsed on the couch.






I am ready for the weekend and can't wait to get to GP for some relaxation and some shopping.  It's good for the soul.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thankfully there was no snow this week, which made my plants a little happier.  I think I may have a pouting tomato plant, but we'll see.  The sun has come back to the "John" and the temperatures this weekend have stayed around 20, even with the wind.  Spring has arrived at last.  With 13 or so days of school left it's about time. 
This time of year for teachers is always busy.  We have assessments to get done, data to get into the office, report cards to write and of course field trips to plan.  Over and above the planning and teaching of our regular days.  Even the kids are surprised at how quickly the days are going.  It probably helps that many of them come in tired and the day blurs by them.  That's a gift and curse living in the North, the long days.  It's nice that there are so many hours of light, but the kids go to be later and later, making for a tired time at school. 
This week was the busiest for me in a month.  It seemed that everything that I'm involved in happened at the same time.  I met with the Crafty Ladies, went to a Horticultural meeting, had wine and delicious appies with Kathleen on Friday and then baby sat Lily on Saturday. Very busy.  Fun, but I wish it would have been spread out a little more.
I managed to get a few more things planted, I've decided to do some container herbs on my deck as an experiment.  I've also been planting some seeds that I've hanging around, we'll see what happens.
My stack of books has been increasing, but I have not spent a lot of time reading lately.  I am also trying to get some picture frames up on the wall, but that project has taken a bit of a back seat right now with all the school stuff that I have going. 

Lily and me

My chives and peppermint

Plants I got at the plant exchange

Chris trying to talk Lily out of crying

From my tree out front

My topsy turvy experiment

The rose that I'm afraid to put into the ground
 
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