Wednesday, August 31, 2005
It was good. I know I sounded all whiny in my last post, but even writing that out made me realize that hey, thinkgs aren't as bad as they seem... I actually have enough to fill most of the year, at least with the intermediates. And getting back and seeing everyone was good, too. I love the teahers at my school. Honestly, I did WAY more yakking than planning. Meh, that's what September's for! :P
My job seems to once again be a really big mish mash. Spetember's going to be crazy until staffing gets organized (which is really kooky this year becasue so many people are on leave). I seem to be the mish mash quenn though, so it's all good. I can take it. And hoo boy I gain brownie points for beins so flexible!
I think the biggest thing I want to focus on this year is living my faith more. It's important to me to create relationships with the staff and to be a good friend. Last year was a rough year in a lot of different ways for me (in the job, persoanlly, spiritually...) and I felt very focussed on me. Me me me.
I hated it.
There's a great song by Laurell Hubick that says, "What Happened to the fun, since I stopped thinking about anyone but me?" (Full lyrics are here) That's just it. My life is so much richer when I'm investing in others. I haven't been donig much of that lately, and I'm tired of feeling like my life is just really shallow.
Time to haul myslef out of me-mode. Now just how do I do that again?
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
One week from today, the halls will be buzzing again, kids and teachers all ready for a new start, the photocopy machine will be working overdrive, and a whole new school year will have begun.
I'm still digging my heels in, trying to slow down the cooler temperatures, shorter days, and calendar pages that are quickly dropping away. It's not just the end of my first proper vacation since junior high that I'm fighting (though yes, there is that, too!). It's strange, I feel like I'm completely unprepared for this year.
This will be my third year of teaching (my goodness... already?!?!), and I'll be teaching music again for the third year. You'd think that I'd have some stuff under my belt and can just start using what I've done the last two years. The thing is, I specialized in teaching French, not music. So even though I do have a bit of a music background from band (and jazz band and marching band... I was a band geek extraordinaire!) through upper elementary school and all the way to the end of first year university, the first year that I taught music, I basically did the same stuff for everyone. This was a great solution for my first year, but of course, I couldn't repeat any of it again the next year, because I would have the same kids, jsut a year older!
I wised up in my second year, and created a number of different programs. There was the kindergarten/grade 1 program, the grade 2/3 program, the 4, 5, 6, and 7 program. The intermediates were similar, but different enough that I could more or less repeat it this coming year with only some modifications.
But I jsut don't know if I have the creative energy to do it all again. Even last year, a lot of the songs and games I did with the primaries was made up. I don't have the base of knowledge that trained music teachers have to draw on, so I would figure out what concept I wanted the kids to work on, and make up a song and/or a game to teach it, often on the spot. Thank goodness for professional development workshops (of which I attented every single one they offered!) - they were and will continue to be my lifeline!
I have grand lofty plans to put together a primary musical this year, and maybe to do a really cool STOMP project with the intermediates, but I just can't seem to figure out where to start.
I also want to start having a consistent group of kids that I teach. I do enjoy teaching music, but with 680 kids that cycle through my room every week, one class and 40 minutes at a time, I don't really get to know them all that well. Last year was great, casue I taught English Language Arts to the French Immersion grade 4's three times a week. That little group of 15 kids really felt like "my" kids. They were a rough class the year before, cause they had been together since kindergarten, so they were split up in 2 grade 3/4 splits last year and were much better, but all I heard from the the other teachers were "sympathetic" comments like, "Oh, you got that group? Well, the newer teachers end up with the not-so-great assignments," or, "Phew, I'm glad you took them... they asked me to do it and I said no way." Too bad for them, they missed out on some great kids!
Methinks it's time to start looking into my own class for next year, or maybe half classroom, half music.
For now, I'm headed in to school today to remind myself that yes, summer is quickly drawing to a close. I'll get a few things in my classroom ready, maybe start some planning (though let's be honest, I'm really going to socialize with the other teachers who are there! :P ).
7 days and counting.....
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Some are sweet, and I can kinda see how they could land a person at my blog:
* different slogans on beautiful things
* crazy thoughts about love
* beautiful sentence about self confidence
* 100 things I love about life
* 100 crazy silly things to do
* what makes life beautiful?
Some are strange:
* six toes on my left foot
* Hillary Smokes Weed Picture
* malaysian fruit
* buying cars in slovenia
* what are clues I'm going to get my first period?
* felted umbilical cord hat (ummm... WHAT?)
* magic gems that make people fall in love with you
Others are just plain scary:
* what special jobs does a chicken do after it has been fertilized
* thai bar girl street meat
* tragic s3x
* meet rich sugar daddies
* chinese adult entertainement
Friday, August 26, 2005
Now I haven't thought about my bunnybowl in quite some time. I'm all grown up now, and I don't thnk the thrill of finding a picture on my plate after my meal is over would be quite the same as it was. (Too bad, really. I wish us grown-ups could still see the world with the same sense of wonder a child has. Wouldn't it be great if we could stay like that?)
Well today, I was shopping for a gift for my friends Shannon and Jason, who just had a little baby boy. I was not totally looking forward to shopping for this gift. I always have a hard time with gifts. I want it to be meaningful, to be special. These are good friends of mine, and while sleepers are good, and very practical, I wanted to get something more. But what? I was drawing a blank. I'd love to have the money to buy them some beautiful pice of furniture or a really wonderful stroller or something like that. But I don't. And I don't know what they have or what they need. I also don't even konw what colour the nursery is. Bah. I had resigned myself to wandering the isles of Babies-R-Us coveting the big fancy baby gifts and not being satisfied with a rattle or a sleeper.
That is, until a display or red boxes caught my eye.
There they were! All kids of different sets - plates, cups, bowls, cutlery... It was perfect! A practical, but keepsake gift for Joshua that has all kinds of meaning as a gift from me because of the fond memories I have of MY bunnybowl.
I can't wait to give it to her!
(I kinda made it a bunny theme, too, picking up some great board books: Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny, and Guess How Much I Love You. They're all about bunnies! This poor kid's gonna get bunnied to death! Oh well.)
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Well, that's not exactly true. There's something I'm busting to blog about, but can't. Hate that. Now I made you curious. Sorry.
Been kicking around the last few days, laying fairly low.
I went to the waterslides last Sunday. I always loved going to the slides as a kid. It was somewhat of a different experience as an adult. Still fun, but it was a hot, sunny weekend. The place was JAMMED! I think we ended up going on maybe 11 slides. A little less than two bucks a ride. But we just didn't think about that. We also didn't think about the band-aids all over he place or the giant hot tub jammed with how many hundreds of people throughout the day. Ewwww. A good scrub sure felt good when I got home.
And WOW, there are lots of people with tatoos out there.
I discovered on Sunday that one of my friends is the type of person who will say out loud what the rest of us only think about saying. Like to the kid who cut in front of her in the line to grab a tube for the black hole slide: "Uh, I don't think so. I've been waiting in line. That's MY tube. You go wait in line and then you can have a tube, too." You GO girl.
But even more direct than that was what she said to the two people in the hot tub. Let's set the scene, shall we? This is a "hot tub" in name alone. It's more like a "tepid tub," which makes it nice and comfy for all kinds of little kids to be in as well (another thing we didn't think too much abut... pee.). There are kids, tenns, and adults of all ages sitting around in the giant hot tub, enjoying a nice, innocent day at the slides. And then there were these two. Guy and girl, the girl probably not older than 16, the guy maybe 18 or 19. (I don't know, I'm not very good with ages. But they were young). He was sitting on her lap, and they were alternating between making out and him stuffing his face in her (very large) chest. OK, EEEWWW. This is NOT "Blind Date Hot Tub Edition" here, people. We thought maybe we'd try to make them uncomforable by staring at them, but quickly realized that they were exhibitionists... that's just what they wanted, I'm sure. So then C, the "I'll say anything" girl, started thinking of what to say to them. I mean, this was really inappropriate. We were surprised the lifeguards didn't say anything.
All of a sudden, with a watery whoosh, C was over right beside the couple.
"Excuse me, are you fourteen? Why are you making out in the hot tub? There are kids all around. I find what you're doing really offensive. If you want to get it on, go into the change rooms or something, but I don't want to have to look at it."
We were sure to check the changerooms before we went to use them.
Monday I took my dad to a baseball game. It was a father's day gift. It was fun hanging out with Dad, fur sure, but I'm sorry to all those hard core baseball fans out there: what a BORING game. Strike. Ball. Ball. Stike. Crack.. run to first, he's out. Strike. Ball. Crack. Pop fly caught, he's out. A few more strikes, a few more balls, the guy gets to walk. Trade places. Repeat. NINE TIMES!!! GAAARRR! And I think I had the most disgusting $6 burger I've ever had in my life. Ah, good times with Dad. :D
I had a sudden spurt of domestic enthusiasm on Tuesday. I baked. And I baked. And I baked. Two loaves of zucchini bread. About 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies (holy smokes, I had no idea that recipe made that many!). A peach/blueberry crumble. I took a big plateload of cookies to my upstairs neighbours/landlords and to the next door neighbours. Like *I* need 6 dozen cookies! Sheesh! Plus, hey, it's always nice to get a big plate of cookies, so why not? My roomie, her cousins, my kinda-next-door-neighbour and I all had crumble for dessert on my fun summer patio that evening. About the perfect summer evening. Yay!
Wednesday was lunch with a friend downtown. Then I went shopping. Crap. I don't have any money. I almost escaped without any purchases till I was halfway accross downtown (well, ok, a few blocks from the mall) and about to board a bus (no, my car hasn't died... yet. I just didn't want to deal with traffic and parking downtown) when I realized I no longer had my sweater. Booo! Back I went, wondering what shop I could have left it in. I started with Old Navy (ah yes, I have expensive taste, what can I say? ;) . Had to wait through the big long line to talk to someone at the front counter. I tell you, the music in that place makes me crazy. "Shopping is fun again!" is their slogan. But then they play the "happy happy glee glee joy joy, Old Navy is the happiest place on earth" music, and have nothing but Old Navy ads. I'm a happy person, don't get me wrong. But OH MY... the sugary sweetness is a bit hard to take! Don't even get me started on their Christmas music! I'm surpised more employees don't go postal having to listen to that all day long! But I digress... I finally got to the counter and sheepishly told them I thought I'd left my sweater in the change room about an hour before. Sure enough, there it was. And so were the two pairs of pants I had put on hold, then decided not to get. They were on the same rack. I caved. I mean hey, I needed a bag to put my sweater in so I didn't lose it again. And they don't jsut GIVE those bags away. I HAD to buy SOMETHING. And besides, they were just so darn CUTE with thier pretty ribbon belts.
Went kayaking with mom today... mother's day gift. We took the ferry over to Bowen Island and went on a three hour paddle. I've decided this is the sumer of Black Tusk. I hiked to Garibaldi lkae in July, and had some great views of the Tusk from there. Then I actually hiked TO the tusk. Then I went to Whistler, and had a cool view of the Tusk from the top of the Via Ferrata. Then today we could see the freakin' thing from the kayaks. Ahhh! Well, actually, it was kinda cool. Kayking Bowen was neat - a lot different than Indian Arm where I usually go. We had fun (well, I had fun, mom wasn't too thrilled with it) riding the ferry wakes. Wheee! And we even saw a great big seal sitting on some rocks on a litle island thingy. Until we discovered it wasn't a seal. It was a log. Stupid seal-shaped logs. :P
School starts again in eleven days. I need to slow down and rest up, maybe even go back to my classroom to get a few things ready to go. Can we say, "I DON"T WAAAANNNAAAA!"
Oh well. Must be done. I still have eleven days for fun, though!
Hmm. For not having anything to say, I sure said a lot. But really, does that surpise you?
Monday, August 22, 2005
Undeterred, she reached out and picked another flower. She smiled as the first petal touched the gound. Maybe this time.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Cathy, Steve and I are headed up the glacier
There were pretty spectacular views!At the top! Sooo cheesy! (But fun!) :P
After that, Steve told us that since we had done the Via Feratta, we could get a discount on rap jumping. More fun times? Bring it on!
Rap jumping is face-forward repelling. Instead of kind of sitting in your harness and facing the cliff, you begin on a platform and fall forward so that you are looking below you with your feet on the rock, perpendicular to the cliff. It's quite the psychological battle to drop yourself face forward off a 140 foot cliff on the top of a mountain, let me tell you. It took a minute (ok, a few! :P ) to psyche myself up for it, but boy, what a rush! I even stopped screaming like a girly girl each time I let more rope out about halfway down. ;) I was told afterwards that Cathy and Steve were laughing at me (all in fun, of course... I was laughing at myself!). Hey, I can handle that! Whooooohoooooo! Cathy went, too. Steve had already tried it, and they were wanting to close up for the day when we went.
Face forward, huh? 14o feet down? And *I* controll how fast I drop? Allllrighty then.
Here I gooooooo......
Feet almost on solid, horizontal ground. Doesn't she look relieved???
(Here's a plug for anyone headed up the Whistler... DO THE VIA FERATTA. It's well worth it. Wow.)
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Just enough damage to make it a pain in the pocketbook (and a pain in the butt!), but not enought to finish 'er off. I had to pay $300 bucks to get my car back after it was stolen, and I'll have to pay $300 to get it fixed if they don't find the sleaze who took off after hitting my car. Tell me, WHY do I pay insurance every month?!?!
FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE PEOPLE... if you're gonna break into, steal, or hit my car, would you PLEEEASE do it right???? Drive it off a cliff, or smash it up real good, or SOMETHING! Just don't keep leaving me with a $300 bill for YOUR stupidity!
(ok, I feel better now... kinda)
Yippee! Cathy's back in Canada! She's here for about three months (two in which she's staying with me) to do her final placement/practicum for her degree. And she's veeery happy to once again have access to Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzards! :D (What kind of uncivilized barbarian nation doesn't have a Diary Queen???? Well Australia, of course, it IS downunder.) She told me to write that, so don't hate me, Aussies!
She's a regular reader of my blog, and now that she's staying with me while she does her practicum, my Aussie page hits have taken a nose dive!
Oh well, she's fun to have around! :D Except when she beats me. (Ususally it's for saying dumb things like that!)
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Shaun and Sarah ask, "You're taking pictures ALREADY?!?!The trail wound steadily upwards - thankfully we were in the trees, cause it was HOT!
A nice place to rest and fill our water bottles
Arriving in Taylor Meadows. Tomorrow's destination looms above us.
Yippee! We're finally at our campsite! I do the happy dance.
After dinner Sarah and I did a mini hike down to Garibaldi Lake. The evening sun was casting a golden light on everything... That combined with the turquoise water was spectacular!
The meadows were full of wildflowers and mountain streams.
Looking down on Garibaldi Lake and the meadows. (That blue is the lake, not the sky!)
Getting closer! You may have to enlarge the picture (click on it), but do you see the white dot on the left hand side of the tusk, near the top? That's someone climbing the chimney to the top.
Above the tree line, the path was nothing but rock. You know how hard it is to walk in sand? Well do that, but uphill. Oof! Coming down, though, was great fun! I part ran, part skied down the rock. Wheee!
A view from the top. Speechless.
This is the first part of the path to the chmney (which we didn't climb). It was crazy. Steep steep rocky slope on one side, and straight down farther than you could see into volcanic rocky blackness on the other. Can you see that white dot at the end of the ridge? That's Sarah, just to give you some perspective. I only went part way to the chimney, cause after the point I'm at in the above picture, the 'trail' ended and you had to pick your way accross the extremely steep slope where nearly no step was solid. Every step I took sent chunks of rock tumbling down the mountain below me. Even rock that looked solid sometimes broke off or came loose under my feet. Call me a wimp, but I decided to turn back!
I'm on top of the world!!!
This is what the Lord says, "The heavens are my throne, and earth is my footstool."
Those huge looming mountains that go off in the distance for what seems like forever? The are God's footstool. What he rests his big toe on. This is the God who created the universe. Mighty. Powerful. Awesome. Holy.
The Earth is the Lord's and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.
Who may ascend the mount of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
Surely not I? And yet God is intensely personal and intimate. Walking through the meadows, the summer breeze bringing the smell of dirt and wildflowers, the sound of countless mountain streams burbling down the slope, the lake and the mountains spread before me, God whispered the Psalm my grandma made me memorize as a child...
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul...
I was in need of some soul-restoring. This weekend was God's gift to me.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands...
I am no longer afraid or intimidated by things that used to intimidate me. I have so much more confidence in myself than I used to have, and am doing things I woulnd never have done ten or even five years ago. It's still a journey, but I am overcoming.
Back in high school, I was never the most confident person. Sure, I was outgoing, friendly, and wacky (still am!), but I never seemed to want to try new and challenging things. Today, I thrive on that: trying new things, things I never would have thought I'd do. This even applies to expanding what I eat. In the past two years I've tried all KINDS of new foods. Thai and Indian have are two of my faves (mmmm.... I can't believe waht I was missing!)
But more than that, it's been in the active stuff that I've felt this sense of overcoming. I was not in very good shape through high school. I hated PE, cause I was never very good at soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc etc etc, and having to play them with all the jocks - both guys and girls - jsut made me feel terrible! And the "fitness runs." UG. Terrible. They turned me off of running. Hate hate hate. This translated over to other things, too. I just didn't think I could do certain things.
Now I'm proving myself wrong, and I love it!
Take jogging, for example. I don't go that often now, but I go, and hey, it's not terrible. I remember totally amazing myself that I could jog for 24 mins without stopping, and still not be totally gasping and wheezing for air. I think maybe 5 was my high school record. High school fear: overcome.
Then there's me and my used-to-be picky picky eating. Just ask my parents. Eep. Well this July I went to a Sikh wedding, and I recall thinking as I was eating my meal that, hey, I didn't even know what half of the dishes they were serving were... if this were me a few years ago, I would have hardly eaten anything. But now? Who knows what this is... let's try it! Childhood picky-ness: overcome.
But I think the biggest things in my mind have been the Grouse Grind and Hiking Black Tusk. I took PE 12 Lifestyles, a course where we did all kinds of fun things like golf, rock climbing, snowshoeing, etc... not the typical sports stuff you'd normally do in a PE class. I enjoyed most of those activities, cuase I didn't feel like a complete doofus doing them. However, in the second half of the year, I couldn't take the course anymore because of a conflict with a different course I needed to graduate. I was secretly VERY happy about that, because the first outing of the second semester was doing the Grouse Grind (a 2.9 km/1.8 mi trail with an elevation gain of 853 m/2800 feet up the side of Grouse Mountain). High school self told me, "You could never do that." Well this June, I did. Twice. And I didn't even die! ;) I'm going to start going again regualraly once school gets back in, cause there are a few teachers from my school who go at least once a week. I'm even looking forward to it. High school fear: overcome.
And then there's Black Tusk. In high school, I was one of those nerdy, "I want to take every course possible" types (past tense here may be debatable!). I graduated with almost twice the minimum graduation credits I needed. I was kind of thinking about taking Geography 12, but it again conflicted with a different course I needed/wanted to take. I probably could have made it work, but one of the pretty-much-required parts of that class was a trip up Black Tusk. Packing up the gear. Camping in the snow. Climbing to the Tusk. (The tusk is an ancient volcanic structure - a perfect place for some hands on geography.) No WAY was I able to do that. I didn't take that course in part becuase of that trip. How sad.
Well this weekend I did it (minus the camping on the snow, though I did 'ski' part of the way down from the peak in my hiking boots on the remaining snowpack)! We hoofed our gear up, up, up, camped, and climbed the Tusk. Sixteen km (9.8 mi) up - then 16 down, and an elevation gain of 1710 m (5600 ft). High school fear: overcome.
I guess it kind of snuck up on me, and it's not a journey that is complete by any means, but boy, it feels good!
Friday, August 12, 2005
(I can't beLIEVE I'm posting this....I feel so 'junior high!')
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Monday it was a really good hike in bad shoes (silly me, yes I know) that left me hobbling for two days. My friend Rebecca and I hiked Diez Vistas (Ten Views), a trail that follows the ridge between Buntzen Lake and Indiam Arm. There are viewpoints all along the way of Indian Arm. They're numbered. We had fun posing at all the different signs telling us what viewpoints we were at.
That's Raccoon Island to the right, and Deep Cove in behind it. Off in the distance and to the right is Vancouver and beyond that, Georgia Straight and Vancouver Island.
Veeesta numero 2
Veeesta numero 5.
Wednesday, it was a 6 hour kayaking trip to Silver Falls up Indian Arm that left me with arms so sore I couldn't move. Seriously. It was a baaad scene. Who kayaks for six hours without doing dome kind of training first? Apparently me. D'oy. BUT the trip itself was beautiful! We spotted some of the viewpoints from our hike on Monday (we were hiking pretty close to the top of the ridge in the first picture). We saw a bunch of seals and tons of jellyfish, and on the way back, the biggest bald eagle I have EVER seen swooped down and grabbed a fish no more than 15 feet in front of Rebecca. It was AMAZING. I've never seen an eagle that close before. His wingspan was longer than our paddles! It kind of freaked us out a bit, cause we didn't see him till he was right there. Wow. What a majestic creature.
Rebecca's pointing to where we were hiking. She really had great paddling technique... it's just not pictured here ;)
Coming up to the old powerstation (off in the distance)
The water was like glass for most of the way there. On the way home, we were paddling into the wind. Oof!
My feet are better, and I can once again move my arms. Mostly. So Saturday I leave for a 3 day hiking trip to black tusk. I'm gonna be hurting for the next week, but boy am I thankful for the opportunity to do all this stuff! I love where I live!!!
This is the tusk from Taylor Meadows, close to Garibaldi Lake. I did the hike to the lake a few weeks ago. We're gonna hike to the lake on Saturday, then climb up to the tusk on Sunday. I don't know if I'll have the guts (or the stupidity!) to climb the chimney, but we'll see. Click here for a pic of some brave souls climbing the chimney to see what I'm talking about. (Chimney picture courtesy of Dave's Blog)