Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mahwiage is wot bwings us toogevah tooday

I woke up at 6:15am on Thursday, and other than dozing on the plane the whole way to Windsor, I didn't go to bed till about midnight on Friday night. Mental note: sleep is good. Not sleeping is bad. It makes you do all kinds of crazy things. BUT, Red Bull can be your best friend in a pinch. That is all.

Trudy and I arrived in Windsor for Dave and Becca's wedding and were quickly integrated into the pre-wedding insanity (read: fun). The other girls had been there for a few days and had been cooking, organizing, and supporting Becca in all things last-minute related. We were all staying at Becca's parent's house, so in all there were 7 girls who had taken over. We had a blast that night - wine, giggles, foot massages, toasts, fashion shows, and a few other festivities - and getting ready the next day. Hair, makeup, excitement, photos... it was SO fun to be involved in all that, even though I wasn't actually a part of the wedding party. Becca was wonderful at including everyone, even in her formal photos. It was splendiferous, and really was great to be a part of all that fun stuff. That's really what makes wedding so much fun is all the behind-the-scenes stuff.

And the wedding itself, of course, was beautiful. I have TONS of photos (did you really expect anything different?!) which I'll pare down and post when I get home. The wedding was outdoors in a park with a little lake as a backdrop. It was casually elegant - they pulled that seeming oxymoron off wonderfully. The reception was a pot-luck BBQ. Everybody brought a salad or a dessert, and then there were all kinds of skewers grilled on the BBQs. Everyone pitched in, and everyone had a blast. It was a really neat concept for a wedding!

And now Dave and Becca are hitched! Ah-WOO-HOO! I can't wait to see them when they get back from their honeymoon in Turkey! (Lucky!)

After the wedding, Trudy, Jordan, Lloyd (friends from Vancouver) went into downtown Windsor (woohoo!) to party with all the 19 year olds who cross the border from Detroit cause they're still too young to drink in the states. Oh man, they looked like babies! [crying] I'm getting oooolllllldddd!!!


We checked out the waterfront then found an Irish Pub with live music and chilled there before going back to Lloyd and Jordan's hosts and having a late night PJ party. We didn't go to bed till about 3:30. Once again with the no sleep. Once again with the Red Bull the next day.

Sunday we blasted back to Toronto and while Lloyd hung out with his old man, Jordan and Trudy and I did some sightseeing. Which consisted of a funky market-style restaurant and the CN Tower. And that was about it. We straggled ourselves down to the waterfront and collapsed on a shady grassy knoll for an ice cream and a wee nap. So pretty much I can say I've seen Toronto now, right?

Ok, so maybe the tower and a small section of boardwalk doesn't quite count. Meh. Whatever. ;)

After meeting up again with Lloyd for dinner with some of his friends from university and chilling back at one of their apartments, we crashed at Lloyd's dad's place and I got up early the next morning to head back south to Grand Rapids...

Friday, July 27, 2007


I hadn't used that saintly fish expression in a while. I figured it was about time.

I leave in LESS THAN FOUR HOURS for my crazy road trip. Windsor, Ontario for a wedding, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Grand Rapids to see Jean and Anne, Cincinnati to see Sarah, then back to Toronto to see Ann. I! AM! SO! EXCITED! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But! My laundry is still going, I still have dishes to do, and I have not packed one single thing. Except my "nerd bag" of chargers, camera cords, batteries, etc. But other than that? N-o-t-h-i-n-g.

I think. I. am. going. to. die.

OK, so maybe I'm being a wee tad melodramatic. So shoot me. But seriously. This is the craziest day I've had in a looong time.

I got up bright and shiny early for my last day of summer school (there is not enough room on this blog to contain the WOOHOO that that fact deserves). I plowed through the day, said goodbye to the kids (who still have to go back tomorrow, nyah nyah!), and then set to nearly three hours of packing up not one but two, count'em TWO classrooms from the summer school mayhem. And writing a sub plan for tomorrow. And hauling all my boxes from my now-packed up grade 5 classroom from where I thought I could keep them to where I was actually SUPPOSED to keep them. I can't move them to my new room cause I still don't know what the heck I'm teaching next year. And it may be that I'm back to being stuck in the French Immersion grade 2. BAH. I don't even want to go there right now.

After leaving work at 7:15pm, I began the mad dash - to the mall for shoes to go with the dress for the wedding on Saturday. Then to the insurance place for rental car insurance. Don't need it. Yay! Got back to my car. Frickkin lights left on. Battery dead. Friendly hippie man in Pink Floyd Hammer pants (OK, sure. Whatever floats your boat) gave my car a jump. To Future Shop. I'm now the proud owner of a wireless FM transmitter for my MP3 player. Kinda can't have a road trip without tunes, eh? Drove like a maniac (uhm, mom, I mean, I drove safely and calmly 3km under the speed limit the whole way) to a different insurance place for travel insurance. Squeaked in ONE minute before closing. Headed home. Laundry and dishes everywhere. Threatening to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!! No time. Noooo tiiiiime!

I've booked the taxi for 4am. He's gonna call when he's here. Think I can count on that for a wake up call? Heh, no matter. I have a feeling I'll still be up.

Three hours and counting.... guess I really should go pack now, eh?

Hooraaaay for holidays. The prep makes me insane, but oooooh, I can't wait!!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Three Wonderful Things

{Cross-posted at SarahCool, too... is that allowed? :-P I wrote it there, first! }

A while back, I came across a blog that was called something like "Three Wonderful Things." The woman who wrote it posted every day with three things that brought her joy that day. Every. Single. Day. It was such a simple concept that it generated a lot of publicity, and she was getting gazillions of hits a day. I can no longer find it (does anyone know what I'm talking about?), but two things really struck me out of this discovery.

First, it's that huge need we all have to see something joyful, to share in a common experience. I think things like that - so simple, but quite profound - really touch a place in our hearts that needs attention at times. Not that I'm trying to pull out the "media is evil" card, but so much of what we're inundated with is negative, is trying to make us fearful, is overwhelming us. Not just in the media, in life, too. We're busy, we're stressed. Who has time to stop and smell the proverbial roses? This lady did, and it caused a near phenomenon.

But more than that, it really challenged me. Could I find 'three wonderful things' about my day? About EVERY day? Often they were simple, sometimes they were profound. She said at first it seemed contrived. "Walking down the sidewalk in the sunshine." What? Really? But she was (is) all about finding those things in life to be happy about. What struck me was that it's a total mindset shift. And I like where it settled.

So lest I begin to sound like a "let's be happy all the time" kind of head-in-the-clouds wacko, I want to clarify. This is something I'm thinking about in my spiritual life, too. Gratitude. Recognizing the blessing after blessing after blessing that God pours out. Even when life is hard. I often think that it's so easy for me to get caught up in all the dust that my busy life kicks up, that my view of the vertical gets blocked out. I think I'd do much better by sitting still a while, letting that dust settle, and just looking UP.

So from yesterday, here are my three wonderful things.

1. Walking down the sidewalk in the sunshine. Really. After nearly two weeks of cold, grey, rainy weather, I was so grateful for the sunshine. It lifted my mood incredibly.

2. Our summer school principal treating us to a double recess yesterday afternoon. I was able to have an actual conversation with some of the staff that I hadn't been able to talk to previously, and it was nice to get to know them a little more.

3. The eight year old in my summer school class who, when everyone else was suggesting that, no, you can't touch emotions (we were asking deep thinking questions, and we were trying to determine, "What are emotions?"), she said:
~ "Well, some emotions you can touch."
~ Really? Which ones?
~ "Well, you can touch love."
~ Aaah! Interesting... How do you touch love?
~ "Well, when someone gives you a hug, that's how you touch love. And how love touches you."

I nearly cried. I hope you touch love today.

What are your three wonderful things?

Monday, July 23, 2007

It's like I'm FAMOUS!

Cool Sarah Cool asked me to guest post for her while she's away this week. Go check out todays' entry over at her place!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lucy Bear

No time (or ability - just seeing this picture is making me bust into tears) for words right now. I'm on my way to my parents house to accompany them and my dear sweet puppy dog to the vet to be put down. We've had her for thirteen and a half years, since she was a six-week-old bundle of fuzz. I'd better not forget my kleenex.

This S-U-C-K-S.


Boot Camp! It's over!!! I lived! Four weeks of working out every day from 6-7am, baby. I was a slug before, and I feel soooo good now. It really was fun - not the "carry logs through the mud with the instructor screaming in your face the whole way" kind of thing. It WAS intense, though. Daniella, the instructor, didn't let us stop for a minute that whole hour. Monday was upper body - oh! the pushups! - Tuesdays was core, Wednesdays was lower body - LUNGE! LUNGE! LUNGE! - Thursdays was cardio (I thought I was gonna DIE), and Fridays was a mix of everything. So basically the pain went in waves down my body each week! :P

Heh, Daniella was definitely my kind of instructor. She has a quirky sense of humour and enjoyed joking around with us while pushing us to our limits. She'd routinely yell out things like, "Squeeeeeze your bum!" or "Feeeeel the jigglies!" or "That's a spic-ay meat-a-ball!"

Probably my favourite bootcamp moment? At about 6:15 in the morning, she led us over to a paved path leading downhill from the schoolyard to the neighbouring park. On one side was a playground, and on the other, the fence and yard of a neighbouring house. She told us to (a) hold out both arms and (b) hop on one foot... "like a chicken" (really? chickens hop on one foot?) all the way down the hill. Demonstrating, she then proceeded to squawk like a chicken all the way down. This royally freaked out the dog that was apparently sleeping right on the other side of the fence. He started BARKING AND BARKING AND BARKING, shattering the early morning silence as we all tried to follow Daniella's lead (um, minus the clucking), but really couldn't cause we were laughing so stinkin' hard. It was really her that made it fun and bearable (even though I was cursing her when she made us run up and down the hill for three minutes!).

So. Results? Visible muscle gained (to me, who had a point of reference before, so no, no pictures! Hehe), 9 pounds lost, 6.5 inches lost in various places, and I'm really happy about the fit test results...

Pushups - the most you can do in one minute: from 22 to 49 (gah! I wanted to get to 50, but the minute was up... aaaand I was about to collapse)
Crunches - the most you can do in one minute: from 35 to 54
Plank hold - as long as you can: from 1:36 to when she stopped us at 3:00
Squat hold - as long as you can: 45 seconds to 1:42
1 km run - 5:42 (ugh, that's slow!) to 4:57 (better, but still slow. Whatever I'm a slow runner.)

I would definitely sign up again (though, uh, how 'bout NOT when I'm on holidays! I'd like to sleep in, thankyouverymuch!).

(Now the challenge will be to keep it up when I'm not actually going to a class! Yikers!)


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why yes, I WOULD like some cheese with my whine

I am soooo freaking TIRED. I was tired at the end of May. I was ready for a holiday. Then came the marathon report card season. Then I got to try to muster up the energy for summer school. I haven't even blogged about it... meh. I'm teaching grade 4-7 math in the mornings, with 7 kids (woohoo!) and grade 1-3 reading and writing in the afternoon. Twelve kids. I counted today and realized that I was at the halfway point to summer school being over. You'd have thought I would be happy. Actually, it was incredibly depressing. ONLY HALFWAY????? Holy cow. I need to sleeeep. For a very very long time. I can't even really do anything to take advantage of summer in the evenings cause I've been up since 5:15am for bootcamp and have Z-E-R-O energy left after that and a full day of teaching, and have to be up again early the next day. Yoikes.

BUT. Bootcamp. So awesome. The early mornings are kicking my butt, but said butt (and rest of me) have come a long way since I started. I have muscles! Woohoo! And? Three more days and I'm done... and I can sleep in in the mornings (you know it's bad when you're looking forward to being able to sleep IN till 6:30!) Sah-WEET!

So. Bootcamp: three days left. Summer school: seven teaching days left. Me: Hanging on by a thread.

Come oooon, vacation!

....... Why the heck aren't I sleeping right now???

Friday, July 13, 2007

Brought to you by Statcounter

Just cause it amuses me, here are yet more search strings that have brought you, the googling public to my blog...

* tragic love [sigh]
* fat ankles in fancy shoes [double sigh!!]
* crazy stuff on tape [yup]
* dog paxil [really?]
* how popples get into the pouch [duh - you turn them over and stuff them in]
* what to do if my dog ate a slug [I wouldn't worry. That slime'll make it go right through him]
* pictures of mcdonalds in moose jaw [um, who cares?]
* prostitution in avignon, provence [not the right place for that, sikko]
* magic dancer bootcamp [booyeah]
* teach right way to shoot meth [I'm not that kind of teacher!]
* is he in love or crazy [let me know when you've figured it out!]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The little Canada Day post that couldn't

I should SO not be posting this. A friend convinced me I should. I have a feeling I'll be regretting this...

On Canada Day, my plan was to record a Canada Day greeting video and post it on my blog (somewhat inspired by my friend Ken's post, seen here). But alas, my camera doesn't have sound.

"No problem!" though I. I'll just do a goofy little video where I hold up signs saying what I want to say and then smile and wave and be goofy. So off I went and made a whole series of signs including the ones for when I would "sing" the national anthem, got them in order, and convinced my friend Trudy to film it for me in my backyard. I figure she owed me after DRAWING ALL OVER MY FACE the night before. (Hi Trudles!)

Well here's the reason you never saw it. Er, till now. It didn't exactly work. But it's kinda hilarious anyway... can you tell I'm mouthing the words to O Canada?

The page on my back says, "Proud to be Canadian!" And no, I didn't forget the words! I was just checking that I had the right page!!!

Hillary's in da house

"Why do you always attract SO! MUCH! freakin' action???"

That was the question my dad laughingly asked me, as we settled into our thrones after being crowned king and queen at the improv last night.

'At's right. Someone FINALLY recognized my true royalty. (HA!)

Let me back up, shall I? For father's day, I told my dad that I would take him to go see the improv - a daddy-daughter date. So last night was the night. We went out for dinner first (trying not to totally melt in the heat) and then headed down to Granville Island to see the improv show down there. The theme was "The Improvised Works of Bill Shakespeare."

The theatre is wide and shallow, and across the front there are tables and chairs like in a lounge or something, and then an aisle, then theatre-type seats. I suggested a place in the front row of the theatre seats, in part cause they're good seats, in part cause it would give my 6'4'' dad some good leg room. We settled into our seats, and unbeknownst to me, my dad was kind of hoping that we could blend in a little more. He didn't want to be picked on by the actors or anything like that - he just wanted to sit back and enjoy the show, somewhat invisible.


As soon as we had sat down, like a tractor beam - *bthzzzzzzt!* - somebody honed in on us - she introduced herself as the stage manager. "I'm wondering if you two would like to be our king and queen for the improv show tonight."

Uhhh.... (OK, well, my dad was like, "uhhh..." and inside I was like "Woohoo! Sweet! Yeah!" Heh. I'm such a wack-job!)

She told us what would be required of us, and basically convinced us (ok, my dad. I needed no convincing) to take on the roles. She brought out our robes - red for me, deep purple for my dad, both trimmed in white - and our crowns - lovely gold plastic with not-so-sparkly jewels - and showed us our thrones. All my dad could do at that point was shake his head and laugh, roll his eyes and make the best of it.

The premise of the show was the the king and queen (hello!) had commissioned a play, but poor Bill had been out carousing and didn't get it done, so now it all had to be improvised, and if the show doth pleaseth not the king and queen, ol' Bill mayeth thus be beheaded. Or something like that.

So we got introduced at the beginning of the show, and for one of the games had to call out "rewrite" for the actors to change the last line uttered, and a few other perks and benefits. But yeah, the spotlight turned on us three or four times during the show for us to do some royal duty or another. We both had fun playing it up.

Like when the group of high schoolers from New York started calling out "rewrite" instead of us, my dad bellowed out, "SILENCE!" and the improv host totally played it up by cowering in fear and telling them, "Thou has aaaangered thy king! [turning to us and bowing low, with the hand rolling wave of a faithful servant] I'm sorry, your majesty. Please take this next scene as my humble apologies..." and on and on. I just about fell out of my chair laughing. (hi Sarah!)

It was definitely a night to remember.

And??? There were prizes, folks! Prizes! At the end of the show, we got two tickets to return to the improv and FOUR tickets to go see a Canadians baseball game at Nat Bailey stadium. SCORE!

The moral of this story is: beware if you're hanging out with me. Life will never be dull! *grin*

Now, knowing that, who wants to go see them some baseball? Or improv? Heh. heh. heh.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ssssmokin'! [UPDATED]

It's HOT! It's been hot the last few weeks, and it's supposed to get even hotter today and tomorrow. Record breaking temperatures, they say. Up to 35 degrees (95 farenheit), they say Be careful of your power usage, they say. A transformer's already blown downtown from all the air conditioning units working at top speed.

And I'm teaching summer school. With no air conditioning. Longer hours than regular school. Booo. BUT, it's money, which is nice. And I'm taking tomorrow off to enjoy the sun (heck, I don't get paid if I don't work - no sick days in summer school - so I feel ZERO guilt at all) and some time with my very bestest friend in the whole wide world (I really should condense that... VBFITWWW? Yeah, that's even harder to type!) and her hubby and their two cutie-patootie munchkins who I hardly ever get to see cause they live in Iowa. Yes, I am aware that that was pretty much the worst sentence ever written.

So I'm gonna stop writing here and leave you with some pictures of summer fun. Click either picture to view the whole set. There are some gems in there. Don't miss out! :)

And kayaking:

UPDATE: edit: it got up to 38 yesterday. THIRTY-EIGHT! That's 100 degrees, folks. For temperate Vancouver, that's H-O-T! No WONDER I was melting!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Looking ahead

Seeing as it's only one day in to summer school and I'm sick of it ALREADY (Why??? Why oh WHY did I sign myself up for this?), I figured I'd take a little looksie at what the REST of my summer is going to look like.

Weekends: as much ocean and mountain time as I can swing. Weekdays: as full of summer fun as I can make them. Strawberry picking, anyone?

The last Friday in July, I'm flying off to Windsor, Ontario for my friends Dave and Becca's wedding. They are some of the bestest people in the world, and I'm sooooo excited for them. They live here in Vancouver, but are both from Ontari-ari-ari-o, so are getting married out there. Then heading off for their honeymoon in Turkey. Luh-keee.

After the wedding, I figure that I'm out east anyway, so I may as well stay there for a bit and do something fun. Will it be a road trip up to Ottawa and Montreal (with a stop at Niagara Falls along the way), or will it be a road trip south to... oh, I don't know... Grand Rapids and Cincinnati? Plans hinge slightly on something beyond my control, so who knows! Maybe I'll just rent a car and see where I end up!

Mental note. Book plane ticket HOME.

After that, I'll have a few weeks chilling out in Vancouver - hopefully with lots of camping, hiking, and beach time - I'm headed to Mexico! I've kinda fallen behind the eight ball with posting about this one. It's been a thought process for a while now...

Back in February, I found out that my church was taking two teams to Mexico - Terrazzas, to be specific, just outside of Tijuana - to build a house for a family living in the slums there, to run some kids programs, and to love the socks off of anyone we meet. At first I was kind of considering it, but pushed it out of my mind with all kinds of excuses...

Naw, it'll be too hot in August. {suck it up, princess}
Well, I only have so much time off, I don't want to spend a quarter of it away and... {and WHAT, Hillary? Helping people?!?! Sheesh}
Well I don't have the money. {not true}
I don't know if I'm called to go. {"Go into all the world..." Sounds like a call to me!}
But that's the stereotypical missions trip: go to Mexico, build a house. {Seriously? That's a reason not to go?}
Blah blah blah.

Yes, I realize how STUPID these sound now.

But the excuses won out, and I wasn't going to go. Then the May team came back, and there was a meeting for anyone interested in the August team, or who just wanted to see pictures and hear about the trip. To be completely and totally honest, I went to the meeting cause a cute boy was going, too.

I AM SO BAD!!!!! SOOOOOO BAAAAD! *hangs head in shame*

So the pics were fun, the stories were great, and I was still not going.

But God didn't really want to leave me alone on this one. He kept pestering me. Like a Facebook spammer, he poked and poked and poked.

You've been wanting to get more out of your own little world. This is a chance to do that. *poke*
You've been looking for opportunities to serve. Well here you go. *poke*
You've been needing a change in the way you hear My voice. I will speak to you on this trip. *poke*
You've always talked about how you'd like to do missions one day. This may be a place to start. *poke*
You have the time. *poke*
You have the money. *poke*
*poke* *poke* *poke* *poke* *poke*


So I've filled in my application, paid my deposit, and I'm on the team. I head down August 18-25, and I get more and more excited about it every day....

And NO, the cute boy is not going!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Making good

Yikes, it was a busy weekend. I'm only just getting to the "no French" story now...

So Friday was the last day of school for teachers. We had our breakfast, said goodbye to the staff who were leaving, and then people began to disperse - some to rooms to clean up, some straight out the front doors to begin their vacation. I was chatting with a friend of mine in her room when her cell phone rang. She got all excited and flustered, and ran off to take the call...

It turns out she had applied for a job in a different district, and that call was to offer her a job. She was sneaky! She didn't tell anyone about it, including me (well, I knew she was applying, but I had only known for about three days). "See? That's why I kept telling you to do whatever you could to stay at this school. I had this up my sleeve!"

I'm sure glad I listened!

So next year there will be a grade 1/2 class available. BUT, there's a teacher who has always wanted to do primary. Apologetically, my principal told me that we'd have to offer the job to her first, because she has more seniority than me, and if she took it, I'd take her job. And her job? Grade 4/5!!!! Just what I was doing this year (or at least very very close).

Either way, I'll be working with fantastic people - the same team I worked with this year if I do the 4/5, who I love - or another grade one teacher who has been teaching grade one for years and years, and is SO sweet and helpful and friendly and AWESOME. And she's told me not to worry, she has everything - her whole program, and she'll give me everything I need; I can jsut do exactly what she's doing. PLUS, the teacher who's leaving is not enrolling a class next year - it's a district special needs position - so she'll leave me all her stuff that I can use, as I don't have ANYthing for primary. Score!


You have N.O. idea how relieved I am about this.


And now, back I go to what I SHOULD be doing... getting ready for summer school. Ze kidlets arrive tomorrow. It's supposed to be 30 degrees... It's only about 20 now and I'm already melting. Anyone feel like funding air conditioning for a *ahem* hot elementary school teacher? *wink*

Monday, July 02, 2007

Why you should NEVER trust your friends

Saturday night, three friends came over to my house for an evening of chardonnay and silliness. It was great fun. We had goiter cheese (seriously... what WAS that stuff? It was some kind of soft-ish cheese that smelled like a campfire, looked like a goiter, and tasted like... well, cheese), strawberries, grapes, chocolate, and a few rather large bottles of chardonnay. We played silly games, and were all very sleepy.

Some more than others.

Let me just say this. School has just finished (HALLELUJAH!) and all the go-go-go of the year, and in particular the last month, is starting to catch up with me. I'm one tired chicken. AND, I've been up at 5:15 every morning for boot camp, pushing my body to it's limits (and having to at times lift my legs into the car cause they're too sore to move on thier own. And boy-howdy, don't make me laugh after core day. Them abs is SORE!). So there's that aspect of tiredness, too. And, we did a 15 km hike earlier that day. AND I'd had three glasses of chardonnay. And I don't usually drink. And it was almost midnight.

So I fell asleep on the couch during our game. That's right. DURING. I still had my cards in my hand. (Click any picture for a larger view)

My so-called-friends began to plot and scheme...

And then the deed was done...

...along with some carefully placed props

Oh, but that wasn't enough. Nooo. Seeing as I was still holding my cards, and apparently didn't even flinch when they DREW ALL OVER MY FACE and took over a dozen flash pictures, they decided they'd have to go for more. Do you SEE the evil on her face???

I'm surprised they were merciful enough to just paint my nails, and not grace me with silver eyelids or something. It was only for fear of wrath and revenge when I awoke, I'm sure!

It must have been the fumes that woke me up.

And the camera man? Looks sweet and innocent here, but no! He's a black-hearted part of the axis of evil as well!

They told me, "Hey, Hillary! Show us your fingernail!" So I did.

Just you wait, my pretties. One day, when you're least expecting it, I'll be waiting for you. You will rue the day. RUE! I tell you!

Muah hahahaaaaa!