Monday, October 30, 2006

Meme madness part deux

Sarah Cool tagged me for this one. I just can't say no (although HER answers are awesome, and I'm gonna have to try really hard not to just say, "yeah, what she said...").

As far as tagging back goes, if you want to do this one, go for it! (Yesterday's tagees, feel free to pick between the two!)

My perfect...

I get to sleep in, then spend the day with a good friend or two - out for coffee (ok, tea), a walk along the beach, and some great play time outside. At this time of year, there would definitely be some frolicking in the leaves - throwing them up in the air, watching the a shower of red and yellow flutter down against the brilliant blue of a crisp October sky. After the sun goes down, we'd cozy up and watch a good movie, sipping hot chocolate and either laughing our heads off or wiping the tears from our eyes.

Job: Sorry, Sarah, I've got to copy you on this one: being a wife and a mom one day, and working in some capacity in a children's or youth ministry.

Food: Pretty much anything Mexican or Thai.

Colour: blue or green - really the colours refelected in nature. I could get really specific and say the deep blue of a twilight sky or the brilliant green of a springtime leaf lit by the sun.

Date: Oooobviously February 2! Or, depending on how one interprets this question, one where he picks me up and surprises me with a plan: somehow involving silliness, heart-to-heart conversation, and a good snuggle.

Book: Yup, let's assume the Bible is a given, then I'd go with "A Voice in the Wind" by Francine Rivers. It's a novel set in Ancient Rome, and I've read it many many times. It was this book that sparked an interest in ancient civilizations and started a chain reaction the led to eight courses at university in classical and religious studies, and even infuenced my desire to go to Verona on my trip this summer.

Life: One in which I know I am loved, and in which I do all I can to demonstrate love to others.

Word: Grace

Ending: "Well done, my good and faithful servant..."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Meme madness

You may like 'em, you may hate 'em, but I got tagged TWO TIMES in two days for two different memes. Woah! I never get tagged! So I'd better do 'em, eh? The first one (number two will come tomorrow-ish) was from Cherie over at Queen Bee. She asked me to tell you ten random things about me...

1. I have some kind of strange phobia about my socks showing. I don't like it. I always think my socks look dumb. What's up with that?

2. For three years (the preschool years and kindergarten), my family lived in the basement of my Nana and Papa's house. One of my favourite memories of living there was sitting backwards on the stairs to the patio with my sister, our legs dangling down through the gap between the steps, eating mushroom soup with bread in it.

3. I have a wierdo new age-y book called Dancing with Cats. It's all owners mimicking the movements of their cats, sometimes in costume. It's wierd. I have no idea why I own it. But, it's good for a "what the HECK??!?!" kind of laugh every now and then. The pictures absolutely crack me up. As does this quote:
"But you have to be careful; sometimes the energy is so powerful I worry about overstimulating my aura. At those levels, an unstable etheric oscillation could collapse into an astral vortex and suck my spiritual reserves into a state of negative sub-matter."

4. I really, really hope I haven't scared you away by that. It's not a frequent read, just a random book on my shelf. I find if funny that I feel the need to justify myself on this.

5. I have great friends who I am extremely grateful for. They bring a smile to my face and richness to my life. Awww! I do mean it, though. :-)

6. I've never seen Lord of the Rings all the way through. Nor have I seen the Sound of Music. I know, I know. How is that possible?!

7. Like Cherie, I often can't keep my left adn my right straight! I'll have to do a quick mental "which hand do I write with" check. I've gotten very good at this. Hardly anybody notices I do it. (Uh-oh, now my secret is out...)

8. I'm a leftie. Southpaw. Goofyfoot. Truly in my right mind, I say!

9. I had orthodontics (braces, retainers, etc) for ten years. The result of that? My teeth no longer touch together in the front. Makes it very hard to bite a hole in a helium balloon and make my voice go all squeaky.

10. Beware, apparently, if you ask me for random, it's random you're gonna get!

If you'd like to do this, too, consider yourself tagged! SarahCool? Jean? Anne? Hulai? Abbey? Barbara? Jenn? Any takers?

And YOU! Yes, you! You don't have to do all 10 (if you don't want to), but leave me a comment with one random fact about you!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A smile with arms, a laugh with a stronger grip*

Somewhere along the way, we grow up, and for some reason, we trick ourselves into thinking that we don't need hugs anymore. It doesn't help that hugs become much less socially acceptable as adults. But why? I suppose there's always the worry that a hug will be misinterpreted, or the motivation questionned, or that it will be unwelcome. But sometimes all a hug is is a greeting, a show of support, or a simple expression of friendship. And sometimes we need it more than we think we do.

As I write, I'm struggling with thinking that this is going to come accross all soft and cuddly and cutsie, but I really don't think we adults get or give enough hugs. The chorus of a children's song by Charlotte Diamond repeats over and over, "four hugs a day, that's the minimum, four hugs a day, not the maximum..." Perhaps she's on to something. Children get and give lots of hugs. But do we growns ups meet that quota?

This line of thinking came up after I saw this video a few days ago on a friend's blog. It was a video of a man in Korea standing on busy streets with a giant sign that said, "Free Hugs!" Anyone who wanted to could come up and get a hug. The looks on people's faces as they walked by were curious, though there were definitely those who looked suspicious. Most just took photos. Very few people actually went up for a hug, but those who did left with a big smile. How could they not?

Then tonight after Alpha, one of the other girls on the leadership team came up and kind of randomly hugged me, and it was great! I must have given her a weird look or something (why? I love hugs!), because she said, "We don't give enough hugs!" That of course turned my thoughts back to the video, and the leaders and I started talking about the lack of physical touch in our culture. Even just putting a hand on a shoulder will often get you a, "Uh, what are you doing?" look. Of course, after this conversation, we all had to give eachother hugs as we left, and it turned into a great big "hug-in." As goofy as it was, it really made my day.

Now granted, I probably wouldn't go up and hug some random person on the street who was offering them (... oh who am I kidding, yes I would, just cause it'd be fun!), but it got me thinking... so often I go about my life with a sense of isolation from other people. I fool myself into thinking that I don't need that kind of interaction, and worry about giving it to others. But there's something so powerful in human touch. It gives security, it brings healing, it is food for the heart.

Now this doesn't mean that I'm going to start accosting everyone I see with a great big bear hug. But I'm definitely going to try to pass out a few more so if you know me in real life, consider yourself warned! ;-)

* Quote by Terri Guillemets

Monday, October 23, 2006


At my workshop today I was talking with another teacher friend of mine who teaches resource (learning assistance) at the primary level. She told me the cutest story I've heard in a long time about one of her little kindergarten boys.

She was asking the boy to sing his ABC's, just to see if he actually knew his alphabet. This is what she got:

"A B C D... E..... F...... G......... -sus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so!"

Some lessons are simply more important than the ABC's!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Professionally Develloped

Well, interviews are over and I didn't die. Woohoo!

Actually, they weren't too bad. Though yesterday was insane. I got there at 8am, the kids went home at two, and I had interviews for six hours. SIX! I left the school shortly after 8pm. I was asleep by nine. I have not gone to bed that early in.... wow, I don't know when. I slept for TEN hours. I needed it. The night before, I only slept for about four, and one of those four, apparently, was with my forehead on my computer desk. Yeah, I was due for a good sleep.

But I digress.

The next seven days are apparently the week for professional development for me. I have two workshops tomorrow - a provincial pro-d day - in two different locations in the city: one for science, one for PE. Then on Monday I have a day of release time to go be trained in the math program that a few classes at my school are doing as a pilot project. Then Thursday I have yet another workshop after school to learn to use the report card software my district uses. Holy shneikie! AND, in two weeks I have another release day to go take the training for a social skills/conflict resolution program for grade 4 and 5 students.

Yeah, I think that's about good for now, what do you think?

Speaking of professionally develloped (notice how my posts are all on a theme these days?), I have seen this on a few blogs recently, and hoo boy, is it intriguing, maddening, enlightening. As it says in the video, no wonder our view of beauty is so screwed up.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Onslaught of the parental units

Today is the first day of parent teacher interviews.

I think I'm going to die.

I have no idea why this freaks me out so much. Probably because I'm younger than all of my parents and I have no kids myself. Probably because this is my first time doing this and I feel like they're gong to see right through me and know how utterly and completely clueless I feel. Probably because I am too much of a sofite and worry that I won't be able to tell it like it is. "Uh, Mr and Mrs So-and-So, your child is way below grade level, doesn't pay attention in class, and takes and/or destroys other children's property. Oh yeah, and by the way, I know you do all your child's homework. It's not in the student's writing and there's no way your child could write like that. And by the way, you only got a C+ on your child's latest spelling assignment."

OK, so I wouldn't quite put it like that, but hey. But really, how do you tell a parent to stop doing their child's homework for them? Or that they need a psych assesment, and pronto?

Anyway, I have interviews today from 2:15 to 7:30 tonight, then again tomorrow from 2:15 till 5 or so. Friday is a Pro-D day, and I'm going to two different workshops in two different locations in the city. And I just got approval to go on Monday to do the training day for the best math program EVER (I'll have to post about that later), which is great, but it means that by Thursday, I need to have a day plan all ready to go for my sub on Monday. Ha! As IF I am that organized!

If you don't see a post by Saturday, you can just assume that my brain has exploded.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dang, them radishes are spic-ay!

For about a year and a half now, I've heard a friend of mine raving about a sub sandwich place near my house. "Oooh, sweet torta subs!" I pass it all the time, but in the four years I've lived in my place, I've never gone there. Frankly, it's one of those places that just looks a little sketchy. And it probably is. But I finally went there yesterday with another friend for a late night snack as I was driving her home. She recommended the apple spice donut - kind of like a jelly donut, but different. As I discovered, it's not so much a donut, really, as a sweet powdery apple-filled piece of paradise. We got one to share and then also split a Vietnamese chicken sub. (The sandwich was little, and we were starving, don't judge me! ;) The bun was hot and crispy, the chicken was nuuuummy, and the sandwich was filled with cucumbers, carrots, and the spiciest radishes I have ever eaten. At least, I think they were radishes. They were long skinny white things (julienned something or others) that made my mouth almost burn right off. RIGHT! OFF! Haaaaat! It was strange, normally I'm good with spicy things. Oh, but it was THE best sandwich I have had in a very very long time. My friend was definitely right! Torta subs are my new nemisis. They're healthy, right? Please? Make it so?


Speaking of radishes... In yesterday's Monday Meeting at school, I was getting the kids all fired up about giving compliments. Trust me, this relates. Stick with me here.

"When we talked about our hopes and dreams for this year, we all said that we want this class to be a positive place where we all belong and feel welcome..." Yadda yadda yadda. All that good teacher talk. (It's all true, but there's just something about the way a teacher says it that makes it sound so... well, teacher-y.) Anyway, this week's challenge is to pay a compliment to every person in the class. So, we were talking abuot compliments, and I had the kids give me examples. We talked about being specific, making sure you really mean it, all that good stuff. I was getting things like, "Good job," "I like your sweater," "Nice work," "Good try," "Your hair looks nice today," "You're funny." You get the picture. Then PuppyDog (so named because follows me around the room wherever I go and I'm constantly telling him to sit down, put his hand up, and wait his turn) pipes up with this, said with flair:

"Your shirt is ravishing!"

I couldn't help but crack up. "Yes, PuppyDog, that would be a compliment!" We were sure to define the word and then I carried on, smiling to myself.

After the meeting, BookWormGirl came up to me to clarify: "Ms., what does radishing mean again?" HA!

"RaVishing, my dear, not raDishing," I say, amused.

"Ooooh. That makes more sense."

Yes. Yes it does.

Ah, I love how these kids make me giggle! *grin*


Aaaand, just to make this the most random post in the world...

Holy cow (or should I say, holy wildebeest!) I have discovered, THE coolest thing. It's called Africam. I found it thanks to Troll Baby, and it's a live 24 hour webcam of a natrual watering hole somewhere in South Africa. During the day, the camera pans around to where the animals are, zooms in and out, all that fun stuff. At night, it switches to a night vision cam. I had it running all evening last night while I was working on the computer. So far I've heard all kinds of birds, really really screechy monkies, and seen a deer, a rabbit, some unidentifiable creature, AND a whole herd of freaking water buffalo! This morning (yes, I checked before work!) there was a great gang of wildebeest there. It is SO cool! Check it out, but be warned, you'll get hooked! (By the way, the clarity is sooooo much better than what you see here!)

Water buffalo

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's a boy!

Kieran Josiah was born to Rachelle and Nathan on Saturday morning, 6 pounds, 1 ounce. He was born by (planned) C-section, which is how I knew that she was having har baby when I posted on Saturday. What I didn't know was how accurate I was. I began my post on Saturday at 6:20am. When I was talking to Rachelle this morning (the very best wake up call!), I asked her when Kieran was born. 8:23am. Minus two hours for the time difference, and I litterally was writing that as he was being born! Cool!

Woohoo! Two boys for Rachelle and Nathan!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Last night I was talking with a friend about how I am so blessed to have a good job, and the means to have a comfortable life. I realize that that is not the norm for most people, and I am guilty of taking it for granted, for sure, but when I take time to reflect, I am so so so grateful for it.

Today at church the sermon was about justice and mercy, and what it means to "do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God." A big part of that had to do with taking care of the poor. Something that really stuck out was the need to connect with all people, not just those in the same socio-economic status (or 'higher') as we are. I think it's pretty natural to make friends with people who are at our level (or 'above,' for lack of a better word), but really, how often do we - ok, I'll make it personal, do I - make it a point to connect with people who have considerably less than I do? And why is that?

It's not something that happens conciously, for sure, but what attitude is in me that I don't even realize? I mean, I know there are people out there who look down on people who are in a lower socio-economic class than them. There are all kinds of attitudes out there that prevent people from helping - or even just befriending - those who are in a 'lover' class than they are. And, I think, anyway, I don't have that kind of blatant attitude. But still, a lack of action based on some neutral attitude still has the same result: just that - a lack of action.

I was thinking today at church about how I can make a change in that area - to really get serious about the Bible's clear call to take care of the poor, the opressed, the orphaned, the widowed. I don't really know where to start. Our church has a number of programs that it runs that I could help out with, but I simply don't have the time this year with all the adjustments relating to my job. The thought occurred to me that some people have time to give, and others have money. As an invited guest was telling a little of his story during the service today - he lives on welfare and after rent and phone is paid for, he has $410 to live on each month. That's IT. - last night's conversation came screaming into my head. How is it that I have so much when others have so little? I don't have time to give, but I could certainly do without a few little things each month and make some shifts in the way I spend some of my income. I need to find a channel through which to do that, but it's an idea that began to take root this morning.

Cut to tonight. I was downtown for my dance lesson and had just parked in a little back alley lot behind the studio. I was trying to figure out how to pay at the stupid meter (trust me, it's stupid!) when a man came up to me and told me that I could actually park just around the corner for free. I was skeptical, but my friend went and checked it out and sure enough... so I moved my car. As we were walking away, the man asked if I would give him a few bucks, cause he got me free parking. Ah ha. Duh, why did I not see that coming? I muttered to him something about not having change, which was a total lie - I had a coupe of twonies in my pocket - and then muttered something to my friend about not giving money, I'd be happy to buy him food, but we were in a rush, blah blah blah. That IS usually my policy, but I mean, come on. After that whole thought process this morning, I couldn't even give the guy two bucks? After I had just NOT paid $5 for parking? What gives? I guess it just showed me that I really have a long way to go.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

RIGHT! NOW! *updated*

As I type, my very bestest friend in the whole wide world is having baby #2!!!!

Why am I typing this instead of at the hospital? Well, she's about a million miles away in Iowa. I'm so sad that I can't be there, but SO excited for her and her hubby and their little guy! I can't believe she's a mommy of two! I'll post news as soon as I know. Not that anyone is dying to know, particularly, but I'm soooo excited!!!

*Update* Sorry, no baby news yet . Trust me, I'll be jumping for joy as soon as I know. But Barbara asked about how I came to have a very-bestest-friend-in-the-whole-wide-world a-way down in Iowa. Rachelle and I both grew up in North Vancouver. We met at youth group in grade 9 and have been friends since then. A year or so (is that about right Rachelle?) after getting maried, her husband Nathan got a job as a pastor in Iowa, so they moved! So there ya go, Barbara (and anyone else who was curious)!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Um... cool??

So taking a gander through my list of recent search words that have landed people on my site (none of which were interesting - I can't figure out if that's a good thing or a bad thing), I realized that a heck of a lot of people find my site by searching for all or part of the title of my blog. Yes, it's long. It can be shortened to "Awful Beautiful Life" or just plain ol' HelloHillary. Whatever. I've thought about shortening it, but I like the whole thing and you jsut don't get the same effect with a shortened version.

Anyway. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Search words. Well, it's a line from a Darryl Worley song, hence all the searches for it. I decided to find out how far up or down the Google hierarchy my site fell, so I typed in the full name of my blog. Holy cow! It's number two!

So I tried some variations, experimented, etc. Nothing particular to report, until I decided it would be fun to see what happened when I googled "crazy Hillary."

Number three.

Of aaallllll the internet, when people look for "crazy Hillary" I am the third website they will find.


*Update:* Go find out what happens when you search for the same thing on Yahoo. Go ahead. I dare you.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Just look up

So I was thinking of writing a big long list of things I was thankful for this year, but then remembered that that's what I did last year (hence my post yesterday!), and my list would be pretty much the same.

But I've been mulling over the words thankfulness and gratitude for the last few days, and I've realized that I need to keep those attitudes much more in the forefront of my mind. I've realized, particularly after reading my post from last year, that I take so much for granted. So. Much. Life gets busy, hectic, I just kinda end up living it, and don't take enough time to really see how blessed I am. Is it just me, or does it take a conscious effort to take a step back and be thankful? I know some people who have just made it a habit, so much so that they don't really have to think about it. "Oh, yeah, I need to remember to be grateful." No, it just spills out of them. I want to be like that!

Oh, but I am so blessed. A few things lately have really made me appreciate my family in particular. A friend commented to me the other day, "It sounds like you had a really good childhood," or something along those lines. And you know what? I did. I know nothing but a loving, supportive family, and for that I am so so grateful. My parents are awesome. They are always encouraging, always supportive, and more and more we talk about what's really going on in our lives. It's good. My brother and sister, too - we're getting to be better friends now, and I enjoy hanging out with them. I have grandparents who are crazy about me (hee hee!) and pray for me daily, and an extended family who are fantastic. The older I get, the more I appreciate my family.

I have a good job that I love, and a great environment in which to work. I have friends I know I can count on, be silly with, and grow with. I live in a place in the world where there is peace and, really, more wealth than we know what to do with.

Maybe it sounds cliche to list off these types of things: family, work, friends, peace... but really, the more I think about it, the more grateful I am for these things. Big and little, I'm trying to get better at seeing things through "gratitude glasses.*"

The biggest thing, though, that I'm thankful for is Jesus Christ. His sacrifice, his love. To remember to be thankful, really all I need to do is to just look up.

* Some kids story on tape when I was growing up was one of these "stories with a lesson" things. There was a song about "let's all have a gratitude attitude" and something about putting on gratitude glasses. Funny, the things we remember!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Looking back...

The nice thing about journals, online or otherwise, is that they allow a person to go back and to look over where they've come from. It's always revealing to read, and usually pretty encouraging to see the changes that happen over a year.

Coming up to Thanksgiving again, I looked back at what I wrote last year. My post started out with, "I feel like I've been in a funk for a year." Wow. Yeah, I remember that. I felt like I just couldn't get out of this feeling that things were not quite right - with friends and relationships, with God, with just kind of life in general. It was so frustrating, because it just seemed like there was nothing I could do to stop feeling so... I don't know. So down. I couldn't seem to make things better.

I don't know when that changed, but reading that made me realize that that heavy feeling is gone! Poof! It must have been a gradual shift. Thank goodness for journals, or I may not have noticed! I still have ups and downs and whatever, but no more funk! Yay! I guess that can be the very first thing I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend. It's a big one!

In the meantime, here's my Thanksgiving post from last year. It's funny, it pretty much all holds true this year, too. (But no, no, I'm not copping out... I'll write something tomorrow, too!)

October 10, 2005

I feel like I've been in a funk for a year. I'm tired of feeling this way. Sometimes when you're looking too closely at your problems or the things that don't quite seem right in your life, you can miss the big picture. It's time to lift my eyes up off of myself and get a change in perspective...

* Jesus Christ * fall leaves crunching underfoot * Nana, who has prayed for me every single day of my life * the chance to see some of the most magestic sights I've ever seen this summer * beginning a solid career at age 24 * those trees whose leaves turn colours from the inside out, leaving red leaves on the outside, yellow in the middle, and green closest to the trunk * having friends I know I can rely on when things are tough * oreo ice cream * my parents' example of a solid, lasting marriage * finally beginning to be friends with my sister * puffy white clouds against blue sky * country music that makes me cry because it reminds me of what's important * wonderful, friendly, caring landlords * the means to meet every need I have and more * my car (yes, MY car) which gets me where I need to go. Usually. * grace * living in Vancouver * having a life free of major disaster or pain * my pompom socks, which remind me of my best friend * hugs from kids * the experience of having loved * being raised in a Christian home * the chance to have gone to university * a wonderful roommate experience * a friend who is always able to talk sense into me * some painful experiences over the last year * a God who will never leave me * my suite * a church home that encourages me to be who I am, the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly * I am safe and warm at night * laughter * the night sky * memories * Camp Kawkawa * the touch of a friend's hand on my arm * joy * the security of knowing my parents will always be there for me, no matter what * the ocean * my dog * freedom * a season of searching * gerbera daisies * God's faithfulness * wind that whips my hair around my face * music * chocolate * not getting what I think I want sometimes * sunshine * second (and third, and fourth, and fifth... ) chances * being able to be myself * the constant struggle to figure out who I am *

My life, just as it is
where I have come from
the road I am pointed towards
the joy I feel when I remember all I have been given
the hurt and longing and confusion that comes with living
waking up every morning
to the knowledge that I am safe
in the hands of the creator of the universe
and that this same God
knows me deeply and personally... ME!
My life, just as it is...

For all these things and infinitely more, I am thankful.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I'm such a party animal

Friday night - time to party! I've done well the last two weeks, I must say.

Last week: three loads of laundry and some Indian take-out with my roommate Trudy (who is no longer my roommate - boohoo! She's moved onwards and upwards to her own place now, yay for her, wah for me!).

This week: Marking math tests and two weeks of spelling tests in front of some mediocre TV, reading some blogs, and falling into bed by 10:45.

I can't even contain my excitement about what may transpire NEXT Friday night. Perhaps I'll watch some paint dry! Yesss!

Oh MAN! I think this makes me officially OLD! :P

It doesn't take much

I didn't say anything until about half an hour till home time today. But there were clues. Oh, sweet clues that only I knew about, building them up, teasing them, all without them knowing what was going on... How I love messing with my kiddos! Hee hee hee!

As I said yesterday, I got two glowing reports from my substitutes from the last two days, and I was SO proud of my kids for being so well behaved. I decided that I would give them some popcorn and read a chapter or two from the book I am reading to them. It would be a great way to end the week - they've had a lot of work to do this week - and head off into the long weekend, plus, they'll be far more likely to be well behaved for a TOC the next time!

In the morning, I told the kids that we had to talk about the note the TOCs left for me, and that's what we would be doing in the blank spot on the "shape of the day" at the end of the day.

At recess, I popped four bags of popcorn in the staffroom, and right after recess I took my kids down to the library for book exchange. I took a slightly different route, being sure to parade them past the staffroom so they could get the full effect of the popcorn smell wafting through the hallways.

I asked, "Oooh, do you smell that popcorn??? It's making me HUNGRY!" I made sure every kid noticed it (how could they NOT?).

We got our books at the library, did our end-of-the-week jobs, and got all ready to go home. Then, with about 30 minutes to spare - the kids all sitting in their desks ,eyes on me, tables clear, I told them, in a very stern voice, "We need to talk about these two notes the guest teachers left for me. I think I need to read them to you."

They looked terrified! Ha! It was great!

I proceeded to read the notes, which included phrases like, "an exceptional class," "very well behaved," "no problems at all," "a lovely group." They started to get the idea. I had to wink at a few who were still confused. I then made the biggest hoopla about it...

"I am SO! PROUD! OF! YOU! These are the kind of notes teachers only DREAM about!" I said, placing the back of my hand on my forehead and flinging my head back. "WAY! TO! GO!" and so on and so forth...

I told them to wait right there, and I'd be back... I arrived back with my arms loaded up with four bags of popcorn and announced, "Remember that popcorn? It's for YOU!" Everyone erupted into cheers! Yaaay! So fun!

We dished out, found seats with friends, and I read them a chapter or two of our book while they chowed down. What a great way to end the week!

(I sure hope they don't expect this every time I have a sub! Hee hee!)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

No, it's not PMS!

I have to say, I have never experienced as many highs and lows in a job as I have over the last month. I thought I was going insane - no really - completely and totally unstable - until I was at a workshop today and was reminded that this is totally normal for first year teachers.

One minute I am so excited about the new prospects of my job and the kids and all the cool stuff I will get to do this year. The next, I am dispairing at how ill-equipped and totally overwhelmed I feel, and am wondering how on earth I am going to be able to do this job with even a hintof adequacy. I worry about my motivation factor to spend the time required to do a good job. I think it's low. I am having SUCH a hard time keeping up with marking (and don't even get me started on planning!), and I feel like it's all I ever talk about. I feel bad for my friends, particularly those who I talk to often, cause that's all they hear from me. Marking, marking, marking, whine whine, whine.

In fact, I took a day off on Wednesday as a "let's try to avoid a breakdown" day. Beter one day off now than five days off later, right? I had two naps and got a little bit caught up on my marking, but by no means enough.

Then today (Thursday) I was at union workshop. One of the sessions was about the teacher rehabilitation program, and in talking about some of the services they offer, they made mention of new teachers totally elated one day and then balling their eyes out the next, and I went, "Ah HA! So I'm NOT going nuts!!!" Now I'm not in need of stress leave or anything, but it made me realize that hey, this is normal.

I'm trying so hard to find the balance between the much heavier workload I have now and keeping up with some of the things that are important to me - helping out at church, spending time with friends, etc. and I don't feel like I've got a good handle on it yet. BUT, these two days out of the classroom have given me a bit of a mental break, and I'm ready to go attack things again. Plus, I got a little boost today on my way home...

This was the first time I'd left my kids with a TOC (teacher on call) and I was a little nervous - how would they be? Well, I stopped by school on my way home from the workshop jsut to drop something off and to check out the note left by my TOCs. Both days, the subs left glowing notes about my kiddos. They said that they are a lovely class, had no problems, and that the days went great!

Ooooh! I am so proud of them!!! I can't wait to go in tomorrow and tell them how pleased I am with them, and what a great report I got back from both TOCs! They're SO getting a "Popcorn Friday" tomorrow (hey, a little positive reinforcement never hurt anyone, eh?)!!! Woohoo!

Maybe the popcorn will help distract them from the fact that I STILL don't have their math tests marked.... *sigh*

I think I'm just going to have to resign myself to riding the emotional roller coaster this year. Those of you who know me, consider this fair warning!