And this, folks is why I love Facebook. Ah, just checking my homepage, oh look, a bunch of friends have posted new profile pics. Then I see that Jonathan, a friend of mine from church, has a new profile picture. It's of him... and... WHAT? REALLY? No WAY!
When... how... really?!?!??!
I do some more stalking looking around in his profile and find this. OH. MY. WORD. I am laughing my BUTT off. Especially cause he makes Bob Barker run away in fear. Check out this clip. Yes, Sarah, even you! ;)
Is it just me, or is there an over-abundance of fruit flies this year? Seriously! They are EV-ERY-WHERE. I'm blaming this ding dang dong Vancouver garbage strike that's now in, what, the eighth week? The little suckers have lots to feed on, what with there being no garbage pickup and all.
I've tried bowls of vinegar and funnels into a bottle with a little bit of red wine at the bottom. I've tried that bug paper that they supposedly stick to. I've tried temper tantrums. I've tried reasoning with them. Heck, I've even tried cleaning up my kitchen! Nothing seems to work.
Until now. You see, my house is very quickly nearing "fruit fly free" status. And lucky you, I'm going to share my secret!
Don't go calling PETI (people for the ethical treatment of insects!) on me, cause come on, letting them drown in alcohol or acid or letting them get stuck to a big gooey sheet of paper till they flap themselves to death is just as bad.
Follow these simple steps to fruit fly freedom.
1. Be sure you have rid your kitchen counters and sink of anything fruit flies might like to munch on.
2. Get out a cookie tray and cover it with tin foil.
3. Lay out all kinds of fruit fly treats. I find bananas and/or a bowl of vinegar and fruit juice are especially good.
4. Put the tray in your oven in the morning before you go to work, leaving the oven door slightly ajar.
5. Let the little buggers find their feast while you work away gleefully, knowing that your little visitors are on their way to fruit fly heaven.
6. When you get home from work, promptly go to your oven and WHOUMP the door shut. Be quick about it. They can sense you from a mile away and if you disturb them before you get the door closed, they WILL all swarm your face and try to take! you! down! by flying up your nose and making you swat madly in a flailing arm dance that really, no human should ever be seen doing.
Uh, not that I know this from experience. I'm just sayin'.
7. Turn on your oven. 350, 400, it doesn't really matter. When your house begins to smell like banana cream pie, or when the little light goes off to say it's hot, go turn your oven off. The toasted little critters will be no longer.
8. Repeat as necessary.
9. Do that dance of joy, and for the love of all things holy, COVER UP YOUR FRUIT!
NB: If you use a bowl of vinegar and fruit juice, be sure it's oven safe! And don't forget to thoroughly sweep out your oven afterwards, unless you're lookin' for that little bit of extra protein in your chocolate chip cookies!
Well, I've joined the church choir. I love singing, and really miss being a part of a music-making ensemble (I played the clarinet and alto sax for years). So I'm slightly intimidated, especially as I had to AUDITION!! (how great would I feel if I got CUT from the church choir???) and as I felt rather over my head the first rehearsal, but I think it's gonna be fun. Lots of choral numbers, and lots of good ol' gospel... I'm looking forward to it! Here's one of the songs we started working on. It's not us, nd I'm not sure how we're doing the solo part, but it'll give you a bit of an idea...
I can't believe I'm saying this, but this year's back to school season has been I think the least stressful one yet. And trust me, that's not the way I thought it was going to be.
I spent the whole week before school started in my classroom getting set up. Or rather, going through all the mass quantities of stuff that the previous teacher had left for me to use. She left our school to take a non-enrolling job in another district (which means she doesn't have her own class) and since she wouldn't need it and knew I was new to teaching primary - and mostly cause she's a fantabulously terrifical person - she left me pretty much EVERYTHING she had to use. Posters on the walls. Resources in the teacher cabinet. Art supplies in the cupboards. Toys and mass quantities of manipulatives on the shelves. She even left me her personal collection of illustrated, laminated poems written out on chart paper in perfect primary printing. (Yes, Tammi, I'm taking good care of them!) My room is STOCKED. All I really had to do was go through everything so that I just knew what was there. I can not TELL you how grateful I am for that, and how much stress it has relieved.
And then there are my teaching partners, Vicky and Sharon. One teaches grade one, one teaches grade two, and they are both amazingly helpful. They always have time for me and my myriads of questions. They have given me copies of whatever they are doing and encourage me along SO much. They have helped shape my attitude towards my job this year for SURE. Sharon is constantly telling me, "You know, I think you're going to like this more than you think."
And she's right.
Shhh! Don't tell anybody, but I think I just might be a primary teacher at heart!
I can't get over how blessed I feel. I am SO grateful for the support and encouragement. (and I don't think these three teachers read my blog, so if they do, I'll be slightly embarrassed. But hello! And thank you!)
From a strict "job" perspective, yes, there's a lot of prep, but it's all fun and low-stress prep. I enjoy the crafty little projects and have fun with finding poems and writing cutsie little rhymes out on sentence strips. I mean come on, my last Friday night consisted of gluing paper pencil labels on writing books, cutting out brightly coloured cardstock stars, and writing out a few poems, all done in front of a movie with a friend and a margarita in hand.
What? School work... relaxing???
And of course, the marking is easy peasy lemon squeezy.
But what I really love are the kids! (as I should!) My class is SO cute! Yes, there are a few behaviour challenges (oy VEY) but still... they are CUTIES! For example...
- Lenny.* He's a very serious little fellow in grade two. He tries his best in his work, is neat and tidy, and is very prim and proper. And obsessed with germs. In PE the other day, another boy asked if Lenny would be his partner. Lenny gave him the cocked-head, one-squinty-eye look with his index finger pointed at the other boy and asked, "Do you wash your hands all the time?" Ha! The partners weren't even going to have to touch each other. And Kiddo, that ball you're holding? WAAAY more germs on that sucker than on your partner, I guaranTEE it.
- Krissie. She's in grade one, and smart as a whip. She usually wears her hair in pigtails, which adds to the cuteness. Her birthday is on October third. I know this because ANY time we talk about birthdays, or October, or the number three (and the number three comes up a lot: One two three, look at me. Three chances. Three reading groups. And you know... counting!) she tells me in her little squeaky voice, "MY birthday is on October third! I'm gonna be SIX!" I tell her the same thing every time. "Wooow! It sounds like you're getting excited!!" I love it!
- Dylan. He's in grade one and has next to no impulse control, but is super SUPER cute. For example, that kid cannot WALK anywhere. He runs. All the time. A little shuffling-foot flailing-arm run. The other day when he was picked up for LAC, he and his thundering feet TORE across the classroom to the door, then realized something. Putting his finger to his pursed lips, he said (or rather yelled, cause just like this kid has one speed - full steam ahead - he has one volume: blaring), "OUP! Ah fuggot tah wuk!" (I forgot to walk.) Instead of the teacher saying, "Go back and walk, please," he promptly turned himSELF around, ran halfway back across the classroom, and then walked to the door for LAC. I just about peed myself laughing.
Dylan aslo has a rather heartwarming habit. Every time I read the class a story, he's sitting "criss-cross-applesauce" on the carpet, and he sits waaay up high, puffs his little chest out, purses his lips into a cutie kid smile, and applauds! Stiff and quick claps a-way up in front of his face. He's the only one, and he does it every. single. time. How can you not love that??? (I've tried bowing slightly and saying, "Oh, thaaank you!" and leaving a pause for the other kids to join in. Anyone? Anyone? Clearly we have some training to do! Teeheehee!)
- Raymond. On Thursday, I was in a rush leaving the house in the morning, and I didn't have time to blow dry my hair. I had to resort to the 'aim the heat vents at my face and comb my hair out with my fingers all the way to work' technique. More effective than you would think, actually. But what it does is leave my hair a little more poofy than I have it usually. Well, usually, it's pulled back. Now when the bell rings, the kids come in and put their stuff away then come to the carpet for reading time. I was talking to another student when little grade one Raymond came up to me while I was talking to another student. "Miss Hillary, Miss Hillary, Miss Hillary, Miss Hillary, Miss Hill - " "Just a minute please, Raymond, I'm talking to someone right now." (ah yes. I AM in primary now, aren't I?) So Raymond just stood there waiting quietly, his little hands clasped in front of him. When I was done, I turned to him with a smile. "Yes Raymond? Thank you for waiting."
Eyes big, he looked up at me. "Miss Hillary, you buuutiful."
AH hahaha! Melt. My. Heart.
"Oooh, thaank you, Raymond, What a kind thing to say!" At which point Dylan, hearing the praise Raymond was getting and not wanting to miss out, piped up. "Yeah! You bootiful!" Laughing, I thanked Dylan, too. And then, for the rest of Thursday and all of Friday, too, Dylan piped up with "You bootiful!" at random times throughout the day. Like just when I've finally gotten everyone quiet in the lineup, or listening at the carpet. I've had to stop saying thank you cause now it's just becoming a distraction. But seriously. I'll take that distraction any time! hehe! Raymond's initial one was the best, though. Adorable.
Oh there are so many more. These kids are awesome!
______________________ * All student's names changed
Before last night, I have been dancing exactly ONCE in the last six weeks. It's scandalous, I tell you, SCANDALOUS! I've been taking West Coast Swing lessons for a year now, and am a total addict. So last night, I was really excited to get back into it.
Of course, six weeks with no dancing and that means I'm tripping all over my feet, but hey, what are you gonna do? It was fun to see all the 'regulars' last night, many of whom gave me "hey welcome back, I haven't seen you in a long time" kind of greetings. Cool!
Maybe my second or third dance, J asked me to dance. Now, J is SUPER fun to dance with, even if he sometimes turns on the smarm a bit too much. But he's a smokin' dancer and easy to follow, so I always get a kick out of dancing with him. So he asked me to dance and I prefaced it with, "Ok, but I haven't danced in a month and a half, so BE NICE!"
That was pretty much an invitation for CrazyGoNuts. It was all I could do to keep up with him, and once he spun me SIX TIMES! SIX! How I didn't fall over is beyond me! And it wasn't West Coast that we were doing. I had no idea what dance we were doing (I thought maybe lindy?), I was just trying not to die. BUT, he dipped me and I didn't nearly knock him over like I did last time he tried that. Yay me! Turns out it was East Coast Swing.
"Thanks, that was fun! ... but what WAS that?" "That was east coast!" "Aaaah." "Yep. You kept trying to do West Coast, but I wouldn't letcha."
But that was NOT the biggest schooling of the night. That one was just funny.
About halfway through the night, Myles and Tessa showed up. Who the heck are Myles and Tessa, you ask? They're the Canadian West Coast Swing Champions. Baaaasically the swing gods of Canada. And regular freakin' people, but apparently I am not good with celebrity. Heaven help us all if I ever end up talking to someone famous.
The following words actually came out of my mouth last night: "Wooow! This is so exciting! I've only ever seen them on YouTube!" (here and here, for example)
WHAT KIND OF A NERDBALL AM I??? Hehehe
So they are PHENOMENAL. But they are also not stuck up in the LEAST and go out and dance with everybody, of all skill levels.
People like me.
Tessa asked me to dance (she leads, too). It was totally fun - she's hilarious! - but TOTALLY intimidating. Woah. She asked me how long I'd been dancing. I told her a year, but really really wished I'd said about half that, cause 'member what I said up there about tripping over my feet cause I'm rusty? And about not being good with celebrity? Well put those together and 1+1 equals, oh, I don't know, about 3782 on the scale of awkwardness.
She lead me in a little run-and-slide move thing, but I slid too early. Ever the student (shut up and dance, Hillary!) I was all, "Oh, now, see, I slid too early there!"
And that, folks, is when I got schooled by Tessa Cunningham:
"Yep! That's because you don't wait for your lead!" *hangs head in shame* hehehe
Aaaand, so it's official. I am now signing up for their lesson series. I've been told it's really good for people who have been dancing a while to not just learn new moves but also to correct any bad habits. Like not waiting for the lead.
At least it wasn't just me who finds it intimidating to dance with her. She danced with a friend of mine right after me, and after that he walked towards me and we both gave each other the "Holy Crap! was that ever intimidating!" look and proceeded to talk about our respective foibles.
Sheesh. ONE day hopefully I'll be cool enough for this NOT to be a big deal. *arms flapping, spoken in a squeaky teeny bopper voice:* I danced with Tessa! I danced with Tessa!" I'm rolling my eyes at mySELF here, don't worry. hehehe!
Ah, but was was SO nice to be back dancing again. My big toes full of blisters beg to differ, but I'll beat them back into submission soon enough.
Starting tonight! More lessons! More dance! Bring it on!
I've been eagerly awaiting the brochure and the ads for the next episode of Survivor - even more so than the other seasons. Why's that? Oh my goodness, it's the biggest secret EVER, and it's been SO hard to keep...
I'M ON IT!!!!!!!!
Man, it was SUCH an experience! The challenges... the people... You know, I really enjoyed spending time with my tribe. I'm not allowed to tell you when I was booted, but I made it WAY longer than I thought I would!
The brochure and the ads are finally out. There they are - pictures of ME! Even some of the photos are mine - credited to me right there on the brochure! Man, such memories. Looking at the photos, I REMEMBER those people. Her... her... him... MAN what an experience.
I was thinking this morning how COOL it will be to finally be able to announce it to the blogosphere! Hehe, you can all see me in live action! WAHOOO. It'll be on the season after this one! SAH-WEEEET!
So I'm fully awake now, but it took quite a long time of groggy figuring to realize that, no, Hillary. No, you weren't actually on Survivor. But all the memories were there! Not of the camera crews, but of the people, of playing games, of getting voted off. But not at tribal council. I even remember the CLOTHES I was wearing - one of the photos in the brochure was of me in an old green shirt I have, and my maple leaf baseball cap.
But come on, when would I have done it, anyway? Well, remember? I took a year off after university, that's when I applied and went.... noooo, that's when I moved up north to the land of ice and snow! :P Aaaaand, that was six years ago. But really. It took a loooong time to realize that I had just had a crazy, whacked out dream. You know what was the final dose of reality?
Ok, so it's been over two weeks since I posted anything, save a quick paragraph saying basically nothing... I was away for that first week, but since I've gotten back from Mexico, life has been hurtling by at breakneck speeds, and while I've been on the computer a lot, it's all been processing and uploading pictures from the trip. So. Before I get to Mexico, here's a weekly wrap, a la Nello, minus the fancy shiny sparkling title thingy...
* I've been in to school every day this week getting my new classroom ready to go. Moving, cleaning, organizing, planning... and chatting, let's be serious! I think it's finally starting to sink in that I've got 23 six and seven year olds coming at me in four days time. I think I'm getting excited about it. And terrified. The outgoing teacher has left me SO! MUCH! STUFF! There are posters on the walls, cabinets full of art supplies from her own collection, books, centers activities, and about 25 poster sized poems that she has painstakingly written out, illustrated, and laminated. (I'm under strict instructions to guard those with my life.) She has SAVED MY BUTT like you don't even know by leaving me a classroom full of stuff. I am so grateful!
* My friend Cathy is in town from Australia with her boyfriend Grant. I haven't seen her since she stayed with me two years ago, so we've been hanging out as much as possible this past week. Church and lunch with friends, hanging out downtown, renting a tandem bike and riding around the seawall in Stanley Park, playing Scategories... and we're going kayaking this afternoon. Yippee!
* My very bestest friend in the whole wide world, Rachelle, and Nathan and their 2.5 kids were in town this week, too, so I met up with them to go see Emerson Drive at the PNE (fair) on Monday night. Free concert! Sweet! It was a great show, minus the weird slow covers they did in the middle. But that lead singer is STRANGE. He kept going up to the other musicians, bending over, and what looked like nibbling on the neck of the guitar, violin, whatever. Ok, so it wasn't nibbling, but it looked really weird. Now about that fiddle player. H-O-T stuff. I'm referring to his musicianship. Clearly.
* The "twenty somethings" from the Mexico team got together on Thursday night for a bit of a reunion before Emilie went back to school in Ottawa. We had dinner, drinks, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and just general hilarity till the wee hours of the morning. Lesson: if you're up till 3:30am and get up at 7:15, it will be very difficult to function all day long. Just sayin.'
* Summer Wedding #3 - Mike and Laura! On less than four hours of sleep, I finished up in my classroom and went to Mike and Laura's wedding. They've been together for so long, it was really fun to see them tie the knot! She was beautiful, of course, and it was a very classy affair. Between the wedding and the reception, some of us went down to the beach. In all our wedding finery, we stuck out just a wee tad, so were approached by a dude in a clown wig and horrible peachy-plaid shirt. He gave me a rose and asked me to sign his shirt. Gotta love stags. The reception was fun - lots of funny speeches. And Mike's a doctor. So lots of doctor friends. Cute, single doctor friends. And I left half way through the dance. What is WRONG with me? (hehe) I was DYING from only 4 hours of sleep, THAT'S what. I'm so lame! ;)
Pictures from said events to come. Right now I've gotta go get my butt in a kayak!
Aaaand, PS. HOLY COW, it's SEPTEMBER. Already. Woah.