Friday, June 23, 2006

Counting Down *UPDATED*

~ update below ~
Yes, I'm counting down the days till school's out (four), but that's not what this countdown is about. My lil blog here is nearing 20,000 hits since I installed my statcounter back in May 2005. That's peanuts for some, but kinda fun for me!

So, you have a job... See that "Countdown to 20,000" in the sidebar to the right? See the number underneath it? If you're looking at it and it says 20,000, you WIN! *ding ding ding* Leave a comment or email me with your email address and I'll tell you what your prize will be!

And hey, while we're at it, if you're reading this, you need to comment! Yes. You. If you don't have a blogger account, that's ok! Just click "comments" then choose "other to leave your name. It's my goal to have 50 30 comments on this post. Why? Cause it'd be fun, and cause you reallyreallyreally want to make me happy!! So if you're a lurker, now's the time to say hello! Say anything, big, small, funny, serious - all comments welcome! Help me reach my goal of 50 comments. Go visit other commenters, too. You'll get to meet lots of fun folks that way!

Counting down... as of the time I published this post, only 253 hits left to go!

(hey... you! Back away from that refresh button! ;)

Well, I got my 20,000th visitor! Unfortunately #20,000 hit refresh 42 times to get there, but hey, what are ya gonna do? If I don't count that one, then the REAL 20,000 was someone from Victoria, BC who finds my blog via "my yahoo." They were here around 11:30pm on Tuesday June 27. Was that you? Say hello!
Anyway, thanks all for playing along with my game! Still a few comments to go to hit my (revamped) goal....

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


That, my friends, is the sound of my head exploding. I have too. much. to. do. There's just too much going on right now, and it's making me carzy. See? So carzy that I can't even spell crazy right!

Stuff to do to get my house in order (ha! like THAT'S ever gonna happen). Stuff to do for Retiring Teacher's party. Stuff to do to get my classroom all packed up for the move upstairs to "real teacher land." Stuff to do to get ready for summer school. Stuff to do to get ready for my trip. Stuff to do to get ready to go river rafting this weekend. (Oh, yeah, I'm going river rafting this weekend, yipee!) Stuff to do for just general living. (Mental note, I need to buy milk.)

AAHHHH! I need myself a serious "stuff to do" list or I'm gonna go bonkers. (Of course, here I am bloggin instead of tackling some of my gargantuan list of things to do, but that's beside the piont. Hush!)

OK. Rant done. Carry on, people, carry on.


This week I've started to tell my students, many of whom I've had for three years now, that I won't be the music teacher at my school anymore. I've gotten a range of reactions from cheering (thanks a lot, twits! ... actually, come to think about it, the kids who cheered are the kids I'm not really gonna miss dealing with anyway, so nyah nyah, it's mutual, kiddos! eep, did that just come out of my... er... fingertips? I mean, I love all my little darlings equally, yes, that's it...) to a dear sweet grade two girl wailing, "Oh, nooo! What will I ever do without my favourite music teacher?!?!?!?" then promptly running up and throwing her arms around my waist. A little dramatic, yes, but still... warm fuzzies! Well, not so much when I had to pry her off, but you get the idea.

But it really is hitting me that I won't be, well, the whole school's teacher next year. I LOVE coming back from getting coffee or a bite to eat at lunch and having throngs of primary students run up to me all waving and smiling. "Hi Ms! Bonjour Madame! Hello Ms!" Or looking out over the sea of heads at assemblies and thinking, "These are all 'my' kids!" And I'll miss interacting withh all the staff, too. Right now, I talk to everyone, because I teach their classes. But next year, I won't even see the primary staff that often becasue we'll have different recess times.

So in the midst of the chaos, frustration, and exhaustion of the last few weeks of school, I'm enjoying the moments that make me smile: A grade one student announcing to his teacher after I told him I was going to teach grade 5 next year, "Ms. is going to be a REAL teacher next year!" Students spontaneously bursting into a song I've taught them when I pass them in the halls. A grade 8 girl who came back to visit and still remembers some silly chant I did with her at the beginning of grade 7. It's that kind of thing that makes me sad to be moving on. I made all the kids promise to still say hi to me when they see me in the halls! :D

A special hello to Auntie Connie! She's the bestest! *grin*

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I'm leeeaving, on a jet plane!

Well, the ticket is bought, so there's no going back now...

I'm going to Europe this August for three and a half weeks!!! You can't see me right now, but I'm jumping up and down in my chair with glee!!!!! I'll be gone August 2-26, covering six countries.

So far the itinerary looks something like this:

Fly into Amsterdam, spend the evening/night there. I'll head to Belgium for a day in Brussels and a day in the medieval town of Brugge. On to Paris for 4 days, then to Munich to visit my friend Colleen for 2 days. I'll spend 4 days in Switzerland covering Zurich, Bern, and Lugano in the Swiss Alps, then spend a day and a half in Verona, Italy, home to Romeo & Juliet and the third largest Roman arena in existence. If I can get tickets, I may go see an opera in the arena. Then off I go to the Italian Riviera for 2 days in Cinque Terra, a series of five villages built right into the cliffs. I'll make my way back to the south of France for a day in Avignon, a day in Aix-En-Provence, and finish off with 2 and a half days in Nice. After some sunbathing on the French Riviera, I'll take a train back to Amsterdam and spend a day and a half exploring there before I fly back home.

I have so much to do! Rail passes to buy, hostels to book, cities ot research! I've been pouring over tour books and the internet for the last week, getting started on my plans.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy!!! I'm going to Europe!!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Coping mechanisms

This last week has nearly driven me to drink. Well, ok, not nearly... I treated myself to TWO coolers last night. Something I SO rarely do. And it showed. (Right, Brad?) Ug. Everything is driving me crazy these days. The kids. Other teachers. My classroom. Report cards. My house. Myself. I'm overtired, I'm stressed out, I'm SO ready for school to be over.

The only thing that is holding what's left of my sanity together is the thought that, "Whatever, I won't have to deal with this next year."

I am SOOO glad that I'm not going to be teaching music next year. I've loved it, most times, but I'm D-O-N-E. No more trying to work around everybody else's field trips and special events. No more cleaning up half-finished latte cups full of soured milk left in my classroom by the teacher I share my room with. No more five thousand different ways people want their report cards. No more finding out at the last minute that the performances I've been planning for weeks will be pre-empted by basket ball games. No more not being able to follow through with ridiculous behaviour in my class. My kids will be my own, my reports will be my own, my schedule will be my own.

Next year will be different.

Only 11 teaching days left...

Friday, June 09, 2006

I'm hatching a plan...

... and it involves a passport application.


And today was Friday

After the week o' drama, I was kinda hoping for a calm day today. And I was almost home free, too. The kids were gone, I had handed in my marks to all the classroom teachers before school, and I was packing up my stuff to go when one teacher told me that I had to have a particular comment set on my report cards. A set I, indeed, did not include (an overall evaluative statement using specific wording designated by the ministry of education: "___ meets/does not meet, fully meets, etc expectations in music this term.").

"Oh, no, not for music. I was told last year that I wasn't supposed to use that comment set for music."

Well, it turns out that indeed, I am, even though the comments *I* wrote instead say essentially the exact same thing, with a few specifics added to highlight what we've done all term.


I had just finished giving the marks and comments to all the teachers, and some had even entered them in their report card program already. Aaaand, now they have to be changed. It ends up being a fairly easy fix (if you have comment #16, also choose #1, if you have #17, choose #2, etc), but still... it's another weird confusing wrinkle for classroom teachers to figure out, it's an annoyance for them, and it's going to make ME look like I don't know what I'm doing when really I was going on incorrect information. Whatever, most of the teachers at my school are really understanding and it won't be a big deal at all to go back into the system and click an extra box for each child. But RAR! I sure wish I had correct info to go on when I STARTED the report cards, instead of after I had them all DONE!

This hiccup today made me realize something about myself: I'm no good at dealing with a change in plans. I find a solution quickly, and it all works out, but when I have got something planned out (in my head or otehrwise) and there's a last minute change thrown in, I go temporarily insane. My stress level shoots waaaay up, and I go into major frustration mode for a bit until stuff gets figured out. And the way I deal with stress? I talk.

"Oh my gosh I was told not to use these comments so I didn't and now I've given out all my marks only to find out that I DO have to use them and what will I do my life is over I'll have to spend my whole weekend redoing my marks and everyone's gonna be so mad at me and and and... AAHHHHHHH!"

And it always gets figured out. And it's never usually a very big deal. It just seems that way in my head. In my crazy, crazy head.

*deep sigh*

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I've got a new blog of the week! See those big red lips over there in my side bar? Click em! Vavavoom is an Aussie with a really fun site. There's lots to explore. Plus, in her post titled "OOPS" she's got a HILARIOUS video of a blooper on an "American Idol" style show. You've got to see it to believe it!

I wonder what Friday will bring...

It has been drama week at my school this week. And I'm not talking your regular elementary school dramas of "He poked me," or, "She said I'm a girl," or "You're not coming to my birthday party!"

I'm talking D-R-A-M-A.

Today (Thursday): I come around the corner of the stairwell and happen upon a full-on fist fight between two grade 6 and 7 boys. "He spat on me." "He shoved a pair of tongs up my butt." (um, what?!) "I was just trying to get him off me." "But I didn't hit him that hard." (Oh, well, then, that's ok. Sheesh.) I haul them both up to the office, hear each side (while continually telling the other one that it's not his turn to talk), give them a lecture, and leave them for the principal to deal with.

Wednesday: Twice, just after lunch, there's a call that comes over the PA: "Would Grade 2 Girl please return to her class right away." This happens all the time. Kids play around in the washrooms, dawdle getting back from recess, etc, and get paged back to class. That Grade 2 Girl was being paged didn't surprise me in the least. What DID surprise me was 2 hours later, at about quarter to 3, there was another announcement on the PA explaining why there was a police presence around the school. A WHAT?!?! Turns out Grade 2 Girl has been missing since lunch. The police are doing a search around the school and would anyone with any information please call the office/search headquarters. My stomach knotts up into a tight little ball, and a hundred worst case scenarios flash through my head. I talk with my students about what was going on, assuring them that she was probably fine, and reinforcing various safety rules.

I go outside after the bell and there are FIVE squad cars, TWO unmarked cars, and a community policing cruiser. EIGHT cop cars. There are police everywhere, and there is a huge buzz happening as the entire school has just let out, parents are there, and everybdy's wondering, where's Grade 2 Girl? At about quarter after 3, her mom pulls up with the girl in the front seat. I just about burst into tears I'm so relieved to see her. Turns out mom came to pick her up at lunchtime for an appointment, but didn't tell anyone she was taking her. She left her backpack hanging on the hook, too. What's the teacher gonig to think? Yikes.

Tuesday: I'm in the cafeteria supervising a class of grade 4's. Girl 1 is mad about something, so she slams her tray down, making tortellinis and marinated carrot sticks bounce accross the table and hit another girl from her class. Girl 2 gets mad - I mean, a flash of rage - and grabs her tray of hot tortellini and dumps it all over the chest and hands of Girl 1. I get there, speechless at what I just saw. I make them pick up their tortellinis off the table and put them back on the tray, wipe down the table, and then tell them to finish their lunch. "But it's dirty." "Well, I guess you should have thought about that before you threw your food at her, huh." (ok, it came from the wiped off table top, not the floor, people) Both girls are bawling, saying they want to go home, and locking themselves in the washroom throughout this whole process. They end up refusing to eat and just head up to the office (which, by the way, is full of the grade 3 boy's posse who I caught on Monday doing various grade 3 boy crimes and who ended up losing their lunch hours for the week) to sit through lunch. I offered them other food from the "emergency" stash while they were in the office, but they refused to eat. Whatever.

Monday: Five classes go to the beach for an all-day field trip. While there, a mentally ill man high on meth comes up to a group of kids, particularly a group of grade 5 girls, drops his pants, and starts... uh... playing with himself. The police are quickly called, get there, and the guy takes up a shooting stance with his hands covered by a jacket. He says he's got a gun. The cops have to take it seriously, so they're there with guns drawn. In front of the kids. I'm sure everyone was ushered away, but it's a big open beach. They had to have seen. The police don't shoot, but tackle him to the ground and arrest him. The counsellor and youth & family workers spend all the next day meeting with the kids involved. The story makes it into the paper on Wednesday, and there are undercover cops posted at the beach for the rest of the week as other classes from the school have their beach days.

If all continues to go according to this week's pattern, we'll have another police incident tomorrow. Oh goody.

Fifteen school days till summer. Fifteen school days till summer......

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Candy Swap!

Woohoo! What a great idea! Andrea over at A Peek Inside the Fishbowl is hosting a candy swap. I signed up, cause hey, who doesn't want candy?!?! It's kind of like the "pay it forward" of candy. Person A sends to person B, who sends to person C, who sends to person A. What a fun idea! Head on over to her Candy Swap post if you want to sign up! You've got till June 10, so it's not too late!

Candy Swap Questionnaire

1) When I was a kid, Halloween was all about:
a) collecting as much candy as I could - We'd go trick or treating with a pillow case cause it held more. We'd also scope out the richer neighbourhoods cause we figured they'd have better goods! And sharing? NEVAH! That loot was MINE!
(b) collecting candy to eat as I go
(c) sharing with my siblings
(d) Who cares about candy? I was too busy egging my teacher's car.
(e) Halloween was forbidden in my house and I've never gotten over it. Bring it on!

2) What is more important to you: quality, or quantity?
Ummm, why can't I have both? :-) Well, I guess as a kid it was quantity. Now it's quality. Though really, a little quantity every now and then never hurt anyone. Did I ever tell you how I bought a big box of 100 mini chocolate bars around Halloween one year for my classes? I kept forgetting to take it to school and all of a sudden it was empty! hehehe... WHOOPS!

3) If you were on a desert island (haha, I wrote "dessert island" but that would be a totally different question now wouldn't it?) and could only have one sweet treat, which would it be?
Dark chocolate, orange flavoured, with almonds. Dairy=chocolate, fruit and vegies=orange, protein=nuts. Three outta four ain't bad for a desert island!

4) You arrive at "Dessert Island" – where you discover a river of pudding flowing freely through a swamp of Cool Whip. No one is watching. What do you do?
Stand at the bottom of the pudding waterfall with my mouth open? Well, maybe that would be overkill. Though I WOULD go for a swim. Could you imagine? Doing laps in chocolate pudding? I don't know whether to be delighted or disgusted! ....... no, wait, I'd be delighted! Mmmmm!

5) Sweet, sour, or savoury?
Sweet and savoury are about equal on my scale, I think. Sour is good too, at times. Like sour keys. But I jsut suck off the sour and throw the gummy away - those things are like chewing on an eraser!

6) Sex or chocolate?
I've been told they go together quite well.

7) What kind of candy, if any, would you turn down if someone offered?
Usually anything black liccorice-y. Though I did try these super salty black licorice candies from Holland the other day. I was prepared for horrific, and they were only terrible. (Sorry Kirst!)

8) You're at the grocery store, you're children/husband/pets have been The.Worst.Ever. They're throwing cans at each other, tripping little old ladies, taking bites out of the produce and putting them back in the bins, and piercing the milk bags with diaper pins. You feel yourself getting woozy. That vein in your forehead is throbbing. You need an immediate sugar kick before you do something crazy. What do you reach for?
TRUFFLES! Or perhaps Ferrero Rochers. Or Hedgehogs. All of the above.

9) What are your feelings regarding Thrills gum, ribbon candy, scotch mints, and other "grandma candies"?
Meh, if they're the only thing offered, I'll take 'em, but I think there are better options out there! Though my grandma always had yummy candies, like those hard candies where the wrapper was made to look like a strawberry.

10) How adventurous are you? Do spicy dried mealworms or candy-coated crickets give you the willies, or are you willing to try anything once?
I'm not so much about the crickets.

11) Do you have dentures or other dental issues? Do you have a good dental plan?
Yesirree, bob! Bring on the sweets!

Oh. Um, that enthusiastic yes was about the dental plan, not the dentures. Though it WOULD be kinda fun to pop your teeth in and out. Think of how much fun I could have with my students if I could do THAT trick!

Now it's YOUR turn: Answer any of the questions above, or tell me, what's your favourite type of candy/chocolate?

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Well. Yesterday, I began a great big stress fest that turned right around in my favour today. Just now, actually. It's lunch time and I'm at school sitting my the computer lab. I'm super excited and don't want to be obnoxious to the staff, but I can't keep it in, so I decided to be obnoxious here!


Yesterday a friend of mine was telling me about a wrong deduction on her pay stub. She showed me, and I saw that she was making more than me, which is strange, becuase I've had a contract for longer than her. I should be on higher step, not vice versa. I asked if I could look a little closer, and figured out that I was not in the right salary category. Hmmm.... So how does THAT work? It began to dawn on me that I may not be getting paid correctly.

I left messaged at payroll and at the union to ask them to look into where I should be, if it was indeed a mistake, and to ask them about how to go about fixing it, if there's a problem. The union rep at my school told me I'd probably have to grieve it and that I'd be lucky to get my lost salary back, if indeed there was an error. Oh great.

Well today I checked my messages at home and payroll had called me back. Bright and cheery, she told me that, yes, I was on the wrong salary scale. She explained how it had happened, and then told me that it had been this way for the last TWO YEARS, not the last one year that I had thought it was. She then told me that I'd be getting my retroactive pay on my next paycheque.

The difference in pay for TWO. YEARS. On the next check. No battles, no grievances. And all this just before summer.