Saturday, March 31, 2007

Welcome to all you Spring searchers!

Hello to all of you finding my blog via a search for "First Day of Spring." Scroll down to see the flower button (not made by me, but by James at Points of Light). Click here to go to the homepage and browse my blog, or here to browse my "best of" posts.

Happy first day of spring! :)


Oh this makes me so happy! Perhaps I'm a little obsessed since seeing the show, fine. But it's soooo good! Go see it if you can!


Wow. Those banshee-screaming post titles feel good! :-)

Quiet lil' me here. (Ha!) It's been a while, or so it seems. I've been being a very indecisive blogger. Post something, take it down, lots of ideas, but none of them really coming together into a post, or none of them that I want to talk about here, or something. I think I'm starting to care less about that last one. What the hey. It's my blog. We'll see.

See? Even that isn't terribly coherent. Oh well.

So my apparent lack of with-it-ness this morning means you get bullets. BULLETS! Oh the joy! Oh the glee! Oh the... oh who cares, here goes.
  • Iowa. It was SO great to get to see Rachelle and Nathan and their two boys (cutest kids in the whole wide world!). We hung out, played with the kids, ran errands, made meals... well, Rachelle made meals. She wouldn't let me help! She totally pampered me - thanks, chickiepoo! Also, it took me a full 24 hours after leaving to stop swaying when I stood. I kept going, "Oh! Right! I'm not holding a baby anymore. Awww, shoot, I'm not holding a baby anymore!" I want babieeees! Whoah, nelly. Hold your horses there, folks. Not NOW. But definitely one day. Yeah, I can't wait to have kids. As crazy-inducing as they can be, I want a whole minivan full of 'em! Heh. Pictures to come once I can sort through the hundreds that I took. Yes, hundreds.

  • Chicago. Yep, I've already talked about it. I'm gonna talk about it some more. First of all, I love that city! I didn't even really see that much of it, but it just left a really good impression. I might try to go back in August. Maybe. And then, of course, there are the one, two, three reasons I went to Chicago in the first place! It's funny, since I've been back at work, everybody's been asking me how the trip went - many with kind of a cautious tone: "So, how did it go with your friends from the internet???" As if, because I met these gals via the web, something MUST have gone wrong or something. No, not everyone asks in that way, but it's amusing when they do. I answer each with a Hillary-enthusiasm-filled, "AWESOME!" or "FANTASTIC!" or "AMAZING!" I think mostly it was just really neat to get the full picture (as full as you can get in a day and a half, anyway) of these ladies. It's one thing to read a stranger's words on the internet, but when you don't know them, you don't know the back stories behind some things (we got a few of those on the weekend!), you can't imagine their tone of voice or their mannerisms (folks who know me often will comment that they can 'hear' me saying the things I'm typing!), and, while sometimes you can get a pretty good guess at what they're like, you really don't know till you meet them. I read these girls' posts slightly differently now that we've spent some time hanging out. And that comment on the pictures from Iowa? Ditto goes here.

  • Apparently my wordiness is back. I'm stickin' with the bullets anyway.

  • Reunion. What have I gotten myself into? There have been a few rumblings of a grad reunion over the last few months, and two or three people have begun a bit of planning, as far as looking into venues, I think, but I'm not sure if there's been that much that's been done. I wanna go to a reunion, so apparently I took it upon myself to make a facebook group and add as many high school friends as I could to my friends list so we can start to collect contact info for our grad class. The problem is, I do NOT want to organize it. I'll help with contacts, but I'm worried that starting this group, I'll get stuck with a bunch of planning. Eeeep. It's pretty fun to see what people are up to now, though. There's that whole crew of guys from high school who are all still buddies and have all their pics of raging parties and laughing at all the noise violations and cop encounters they've been having .... it's like a time warp! But it's really fun to see who's married, who has kids, who's off doing totally interesting things - a massage therapist in the British Virgin Islands, a mountain guide in the Himalayas, etc. Makes me seem kinda boring. "Well... I went to university. Now I'm a teacher." Maybe I need to put a hiatus on that plan and do some gallivanting of my own! The reunion will be really interesting, I'm looking forward to it (I think!).

  • Speaking of teaching... my report cards are due on Monday. Bet ya didn't even know! Last term was T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E! It was the first time I'd done them, and wow, it sent me into a tizzy. First of all, figuring out just what to SAY, and then realizing what I'd done all term was gonna make it really hard to write the reports, and the guesswork and second-guessing myself... it really really brought me down. This term (so far - I still have a long way to go) is like night and day. TOUCH WOOD! I know the kids better, have developed a different system for evaluating, and it just seems easier. Erm, they're still gonna be late, but that's ok. They are not gonna kill me. Yaaay!

  • What might kill me, though? These dang lyrics that I can NOT get out of my head. Those are what I've been posting, taking down, posting, taking down. If you read me via a feed reader or caught my site when they were up, well, you saw them. If not, too bad. OK, first of all, music always really impacts me. I love lyrics because of the stories they tell and the emotions they bring up in me. That's probably one of the reasons I like country music, because there's just so many stories and ranges of emotion there (not that there's not in other music, let's not get into an off-topic debate here!). So yeah, music really affects me. And I also remember lyrics fairly well and get songs stuck - and I do mean STUCK - in my head. So I nearly had a fit when I first heard the song last weekend, cause I thought, wow, that totally applies to me. But then, of course, I realized, ok, no song can totally be 100% applicable. There are similarities, or parts of the song that fit, but there's always parts that are like, "Ok, yeah, no, those don't apply." So I looked up the lyrics to calm my crazy-brain. And they ONE HUNDRED PERCENT APPLY. Every single word. And it's depressing. I hate that it brings me down so much.

Heh. And on THAT cheery note, I need to get back to work (ok, ok, I need to GET to work). These reports haven't killed me yet, and I don't intend to let them this time. So that's my little brain dump for the day.

Happy Saturday!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Is it over already????

"There she is!!!"

Those were the words that started off my bloggy (yet surprisingly non-bloggy) weekend in Chicago. I was sitting at a table in Union Station waiting for Anne and Jean to arrive when I heard them call out their greeting. There were hugs all round, then we motored over to the L (Chicago's elevated train network) to head to the apartment where Sarah was waiting for us.

From there it was a whirlwind of talking, laughing, walking, more talking, shopping, eating, sighteeing, more talking, pampering, more eating*, and pretty much total and complete awesomeness all weekend long.

* Ladies - did we SERIOUSLY eat that meal at Giordano's? My arteries hurt just thinking about it. But mmmmmmm, was it GOOOOD! At least we didn't have the monkey's meal!

For those of you not in the loop about the crazy monkey, we went to Lincoln Park Zoo and in one of the habitats, there was this one psycho ape who was scraping around at the wall. He walked over to the window eventually and Sarah was like, "Oh! He has a screw! ... Oh, monkey! Don't eat that... screw... OH MY GOSH! HE TOTALLY ATE THAT SCREW!!!!!!" Then the screwball primate - get it? Screwball? haaaa! - proceeded back to the wall, dug up another one, and ATE IT, TOO! Whaaa???

Annnywaaay... it really felt like I've known these gals for so long, even though we only just met. It was such a neat experience! I wasn't really surprised by anyone - each girl was pretty much as I imagined they'd be. Though Anne is kookier and more outgoing than I thought she'd be (which is great!!).

We saw Wicked, I bought some very fun bright green (perhaps inspired by Elphaba?) pointy toed shoes - yeah-HA! - on the Magnificent Mile, and got PEDICURES! In fancy red heated massaging chairs! We had some famous Chicago deep-dish stuffed pizza, had a cab ride that nearly made us pee ourselves - poor Jean, she had the front seat and actually saw everything as it was coming, as well as having the added 'benefit' of hearing all the comments the crazy cabbie made - and I enjoyed (?) being the novel Canadian in the group. Hee hee. It was pretty funny, actually.

There will be more to come from all of us, I'm sure, but for now, here are the posts about the weekend so far...

* Sarah's * Anne's * Jean's * Anne's 2nd post

And by the way? Sarah's baked oatmeal is pretty much the best thing I've ever eaten. YUH-MEEEE!!!!

(and, by the way number two, I just messaged my friend Brad to say that this trip was "so freaking awesome!!!!" and he goes, "one, two, three, four exclamation points. Sarah's rubbing off on you." HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!)

It was SUCH a fabuloso weekend. There are sooo many pictures that will be flying back and forth. I'll let you know when they're all up, but for now, here's just one! (left to right is Anne, Sarah, me, and Jean)

Ladies, "because I know you, I have been changed for good."

Ok, and I can't resist posting this one, too. Mostly cause Sarah's expression CRACKS! ME! UP!

(click either pic to embiggen)

Thursday, March 22, 2007


RIGHT! I have homework! Good thing my train is now five and a half hours late, I have some extra time. Grrr....

Before meeting up with my three awesome blog friends in Chicago IN LESS THAN 12 HOURS!!!!! we all said that we should post our impressions of one another on our blogs. Yikes. Have it down in writing? Hmm..... oh man, I am SO bad at this kind of thing. OK. Here goes.

Jean - I know her the least, but in my emails back and forth with her and from reading her blog, I would say that she is a really compassionate and empathetic woman. She has a heart to serve others, and has a great sense of adventure (Jean, didn't you do that crazy bike + more race last summer, was it? I was sooo impressed!). Her love for her family comes through loud and clear - they're lucky to have her!

Anne - she's creative, and also an extremely kind and compassionate person. She's got all kinds of great stories - ask her about her froggie friends! - and has a fun sense of humour. She likes to read - her booklist for this year is unbelievable! - but also likes to get out and enjoy the outdoors. She also has a killer sunhat. I'm betting that her and her hubby have some pretty silly times together.

Sarah - probably the most enthusiastic person I have ever... uh... not met. Yet. Her colleagues at work must be worried about her for all the times she falls out of her chair from laughing so hard. ;-) She has a hugely sensitive heart, and is quick to lavish love on other people, whether her friends, her family, her little sister, or even total internet strangers... like me! She's a true girly girl, and I love it! She inspires me, in more ways than one.

Actually, all these ladies inspire me. It's amazing how much I've learned from them and how their encouragement and grace has blessed me. The fact that we are all Christians gives us all something in common and like Anne said, I'm looking forward to getting to know these ladies more in the next two days than I have in the last year and a bit from reading their blogs.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mum Blog Post Photo

Click the photo to get your own flower.
Happy first day of spring!

Tanning in the Iowan Sun (now with translations, see bottom!)

Before I left, I told my students that I was going to be going to Iowa to visit my very best friend in the whole wide world a waaay down in Iowa. One student piped up with giddy enthusiasm, "OH, Ms Hillary, you're gonna come back soooo dark, trust me!"

Right-o kiddo.

The sun has been out (except for a crazy wind and hail storm that, combined with me being half asleep, reading a book based on the Wizard of Oz, and having crazy dreams, had me convinced I would have to go running for the basement to escape the imminent tornado), but not so much for tanning.

Instead, I've been learning to decipher two-year old speak and helping change explod-o diapers.
Let me give an example (of two-year-old speak, not exploding diapers. This ain't a mommy blog yet! ;) ). See how you do in deciphering them.

"dubuh-ded cackah"
"paypah dah"
"bibud wed dahg"

Mattias has a spray bottle that he likes to go around spritzing everything with. Apparently he likes spritzing himslef in the face, too!

And Keiran is just like a little elf! A cutsie wootsie cuddle pie if ever there was one.

Mattias is extremely fortunate to have such talented entertainers at his every whim. Just look at that chicken dance! We are sooooo HAWT!

A good time is being had by all....
"dubuh-ded cackah" = Farmer Jed's Tractor
"paypah dah" = Paper draw
"bibud wed dahg" = Clifford Red Dog

and I forgot one... "buh-guk sooz"= firetruck shoes (his runners have fire trucks that light up on them). He says lots of other words, too, but these are the fun ones! And he loooooves 'cakahs' and 'buh-guks,' so we hear those a lot! :-)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St Patty's Day!

So I learned today that St Patrick's Day in Chicago is a BIG! DEAL! There's a parade, vendors selling all manner of green everything, lots and lots and lots of Irish pubs, and they dye the river green! Not forest green. Not even emerald green. Bright, near-glowing, radioactive green. Apparently it stays like that for days. I had the morning in the Windy City (and yes, it was wiiiinnndddyyy) for exploring, and I met up with a girl in my hostel who hung ot with me for the morning. We did a walking tour with a guide from the hostel, who we decided to ditch (sorry, but it's St Patty's Day, and you were talking about the how many freight containers come into the city by rail. Borrr-ring.). We battled the hordes of green-clad revellers to see the radioactive river then caught the tail end of the parade before I had to bob and weave my way throught the crowd to make sure I caught my trian.

I was near giddy walking around this morning, cause I'm finally ON HOLIDAYS!!! That, and I really really love arriving in a city and jsut figuring it out. Transit, what to see, where things are. It was grand.

Even more grand is that I'm here in Iowa now with Rachelle and Nathan and two of the cutest little boys in the whole wide world!

So, I'll leave you with warm wishes for a Happy St Patricks Day. I hope you remember at least some of it! ;-)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Uh, really???

In 24 hours I will be in Chicago. What??? ToMORROW??? Really??? I take the train to Iowa on Saturday. But really? Have 24 hours? I. AM. GOING. TO. DIE. I have sooooo much to do. It's 6:42. I'm still at school. Marking, planning for the Monday we get back, filing, cleaning. I go home, and there's packing. And laundry. And dishes.

The biggest thing is that I'm STILL sooo behind on my marking, and reports are D-U-E one week after I get back. GAH! I have to take marking with me. I am so ticked off. I guess that's what the planes, trains, and automobiles are for. ERG.

I'm so excited. But so stressed out. GAAAAH (I'm only here cause I need a quick brain break. I'm back at 'er very soon)

In funnier news, we had the first of two puberty talks at school yesterday. Ah ha ha hahahahaaa! Oh the kids were soooo squeamish. And laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed every time the words pen!s and v@gin@ were mentionned (pardon the weird characters, I don't need any icky searches landing at my blog!). Oh, it was funny.

And of course, we did the anonymous question thing - everybody got a slip of paper and they had to write something, even if it was, "Hello, how are you?" then they all turned them in. Some of the questions were so great...

Why do girls have to have a egg in the you know what?

What if you're going through puebrty and you want to tell youre friend but youre scared of what they might think?

Why do people think about s3x? Why do people do s3x?

How do you know you have pewbertey? [cause it's a disease...]

When do I start to date? [said by the girl who is inseperable with a certain boy in our class!]

I's the movi rated R? [a big part of the presentation was a video. This question was written with intentional bad spelling and fake handwriting]

muhahahahaha [yes, that was actually a comment. Complete with pointy-toothed smiley/frowny faces]

Right. Try to teach long division after the 'puberty talk.' Heh.

OK! Back to work for me! Who needs sleep, right?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm half cracked, as you can see

You know something's gotta give when your over-enthusiasm for an elementary school pyjama day - my pj pants, t-shirt, fuzzy pink slippers, and cozy cozy bathrobe are packed and ready to take to school - is sooo much not about doing it 'for the kids' but more about the fact that this may very well be the only way I'll get through today!

Bring on the snugglies!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Everywhere you go, there you are

You know, sometimes I just wish that that wasn't true. Do you ever just get sick of yourself? Sick of the way you do things, sick of hearing your voice. That's a big one this week. All day long, I wish I could just. shut. up. and NOT hear my own voice for once. Sheesh. If I'm sick of it, I'm sure the kids are, too.

Two days left... two days left... two days left...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Who SAYS you can't buy happiness???

"Purse and Boots"
(clever photo title thanks to Shelli)

Chop chop!

It was definitely time. I only posted my crazy hair chart, what, two months ago? Well, I finally got gutsy and got a real change - Shorter! Flippier! Lighter! - and, I have to say, I LOVE it!!! It's been a looong time since I've said that about a new haircut! Yay!

Of course, the new bag and boots help, too! (Oh, it was SUCH a big step to get a red bag. I'm a brown or black bag girl. Or rather, I WAS a brown and black bag girl. Now I'm all about the 'pop!')

Hehe, it's a whole new me!

See the 'before' pic

Friday, March 09, 2007

My Bible study don't. want. none. unless you got BOOK, hun

I posted this a long time ago, but it resurfaced over at the Queen of Spain's blog, and it is so classic I had to show it again. I don't know whether to cringe or to laugh...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Oh the goodness of it all

I was in grade 5 when the scandal broke. I was devestated. Gotta blame it on somethin'...

And multiculoured vests with no shirt? Oh the hotness!!!

Oh, and how 'bout this, while I'm at it? It's old skool musical goodness. The special effects blow my MIND.

This song will forever be related in my mind to driving along the winding highway through the rockies on a greyhound bus - one in a convoy of five - full of high school students on their way home from a youth conference in Regina. We played bus bowling, had crazy relays, racing back and forth along the length of the bus, diving over and under the seats (safe, eh?), and played the dating game over the bus's radios. I was bachelorette #2, and I got picked! I'm positive that it was because, when asked what kind of kitchen appliance I'd be, I said I'd be a pepper grinder cause I'm spic-ay! That was most definitely THE coolest answer ever. Heh.

The youth leaders set up a 'date' at the McDonalds in Moose Jaw, complete with a boquet of flowers made from multiple straws in a Mickey-D's cup and shredded napkins for petals. It was lovely, and especially romantic when my date posed for our photo together with chewed up cheeseburger in his opened-wide mouth. Wonder why that relationship never worked out???

But the song. Oh, the song. We were obsessed with it for some reason the whole way home. I doubt we listened to it less than 100 times. We had the best bus driver EVER, cause every time the "BAUM! BAUM!" came on, he'd blast that ol' bus horn in sync with the music. Booyeah.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I was hungry, so I tried to bite her

We did an in-class writing assesment today with my grade 5's . The things they come up with, I tell you. Hilarious. Some of it is downright weird, some brilliant, some boring as all getout. This one cracked me right up, so I thought I'd share (grammar preserved, spelling corrected, it's too much work to spell wrong on purpose!)...

Topic: Imagine you are walking down the hall at your school, and you hear a strange noise coming from your classroom. When you go inside, you discover that the strange noise is coming from a funny-looking animal sitting at your desk. Whrite a story about what happens next.

The weird creature

I walked to the teacher and asked her, "Why is there a creature at my desk?" She talked back to me, but I didn't understand anything. She said, "lablasetolava tqxyzvw!" I was so confused so I went to ask my best friend Sue. I heard over bogvwyzvla then I was so mad. I screamed "OH MY GOD! Quit talk bliberish!" I was so mad I just took a chair and sat down. It shocked me so I took another chair it shocked me. I walked down to the office and I asked for a telephone. [Principal] have me a banana. What do I do with a banana?? I ripped it up and was about to bite it, but I saw wires. So it was a telephone? My bad I put it down and ran. I went home and my mom looked like a hamburger with a elephants trunk. I was hungry so I tried to bite her. She started to yell at I saw by the face. I heard was you little you trying. You said english. Trying lasay falasvetale. NO NOT AGAIN!!! My mom slapped me I woke up it was a daydream. I was so happy it was just a dream.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Spring can't come soon enough

I tell ya, I'm just hanging on by a thread till spring. Something about the newness of it - new starts, new life - I really really need right now. This winter there's been lots of good stuff, yes, but man, there's been a lot that's come at me. I have felt SO weighted down this winter. I don't feel like myself this year at all, and I'm really tired of it. I want 'me' back. I just want this season of suckage to end. Come oooon, spring!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Dancing, dancing, and MORE DANCING!

Oh no, the obsession has not cooled off. Not one bit! Some weekends I go out dancing TWICE - Saturday AND Sunday! It's glorious (though my feet hurt for three days afterwards!). We only have one more class in level three left and then it's on to the next session! Er, which is another level three... Basically, once you get to level three, you stay there. Each session they teach you new things, so it's always new. There is a level four, but that's for super duper serious dancers, or jsut those who are really good and want to learn much fancier stuff - moves, styling, etc. I may think about that at some point, but I'll do level three for a while yet.

But! BUT!! BUT!!!

I think I might start a new dance class, too! We had a mini funk lesson tonight after the swing lesson, and it was SO FUN! Before, I would never have had the... I dunno, the confidence, I guess, to do that. There's so much attitude involved in that, and I really would have felt that it's just not "me" and been really self concious. But that has been changing with doing West Coast Swing, and I've really been enjoying it. I think I may like to funk it up for a bit... get the 'tude going, heh heh! PLUS, it would be so easy to take some of those moves and teach them to my grade 5's. West Coast Swing would be too hard, but funk? Now THAT they can do! Plus the fact that it's called "funk." They'd be all over that.

But now, I must take my tired and aching legs to BED! If they don't give out on me first!