Wednesday, March 26, 2008


After this past weekend and the comps, I was wondering if there was really any point in me competing. Not cause I didn't think I could ever get anywhere (ok, well, kinda), but more just becuase I'm not committed to really practicing and improving so that I can win comps. I just like dancing fo rthe fun of it, and there are so many good dancers out there that are better than me. I'm SOOO not a competitive person. It was fun, but I wasn't sure I'd do it again.

Then my friend JR (hi JR!) sent me the scores from this weekend's comps, and guess what??? I nearly made semis! The called back 21 dancers out of 73, and I nearly made it! I was 29th of 73. Wahoo! Ok, so that doesn't sound too impressive, but at Sea to Sky in October I was a waaaaay down at the bottom. 39th of 50, I believe. Nowhere close.

Basically, the judges give you a call back/yes (1), a maybe (2) or a no (3). There were three judges at Sea to Sky, and they all gave me no's. There were four judges at Easter Swing, and I got two yesses and two no's. Score!

Kinda makes me wanna keep competing now! Hooray! Now, when's the next dance event???

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Seattle Easter Swing

From 2pm to 2am Friday. From 9am to 4am Saturday. From 9am to 6pm then 10:30pm to midnight Sunday. Two competitions. COuntless performances. One midnight breakfast. Lots of friends. Hours and hours and hours of dancing. Two very sore feet. One fantastic weekend!

I competed in two categories this time around - Jack and Jill (unknown music and random partners) and strictly swing (unkown music but you choose your partner). They were both fun, and extra exhilirating when I was dancing in front of the 'home crowd' and they were yelling and cheering and screaming my name! So fun! I didn't place or even make finals, but who cares! It was a blast!

There was large group of my friends who went down, so it was great to hang with them all weekend, too.

I danced with eight of the pros, which, while fun, is still intimidating. "Gak! He's a pro! Don't screw up, don't screw up! AK! I screwed up! Oh shoot! Oh shoot!" Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

There was one dance, however, that stood out. I was sitting at my table with some friends taking a breather for a while, when a tall handsome stranger swooped down, sat beside me, and said, "Hello. I'm Jason. What's your name?" Stunned, I answered him. With a smile, he asked for a dance: "Hillary, I would love to dance with you." Uhhh, OK! He escorted me out onto the floor, hand on the small of my back, and asked where I was from. He was from South Carolina. Ah, that southern charm!

He was really good, but never once threw me a move I couldn't handle. We played with the music, hit all the breaks, and had a FANTASTIC dance. The thanked me, gave me a hug, and escorted me back of the floor. "Now, where did I take you from?" He complimented my dancing and waved goodbye.

The next day, he saw me in the hall and waved. "Thanks again for the great dance last night."

Ok, um, *swoon!*

Later on Saturday night, I was watching one of the pro category dances, and there he was! Holy crap! He was one of the pros!!! Heh, no WONDER he was so good! But the charm! Wow!

Videos were a big fat ol' no no in the ballroom, unfortunaltey, and there weren't even photos allowed during the comps, but they had a great photographer there who I bought some photos from. Hehe, here's me!

This is my friend Chris and I in the Strictly Swing comps.

Below is the Jack and Jill competion. I didn't know this partner. (Anne - this is the shirt I bought when I was shopping with you. I think of you every time I wear it! :) )

They had a "dollar dance" to raise money for a charity - put in some money and dance with a pro. I danced with six of them. Here I'm not having any fun at ALL dancing with Robert Cordoba. Woohoo!

Worth watching

Be sure to have a kleenex handy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

One Two Three and I'm off!

Three things.

One: Happy first day of spring!!! Yes, I know it's almost over. Happy first day of spring anyway! :)

Two: Ho-lee. I was checking statcounter this morning and saw a H-U-G-E spike in hits today. What the? Like as in, six or seven times what I get in a day, all by 11am. What? Turns out that a spring photo I posted last year turns up in google images when you search for first day of spring, and HUNDREDS of people have flocked to my blog today. Crazy! It was a popular image, apparently. (Too bad I can't take credit for it!) Heh. Go to google and try it. It's a yellow flower, blue background, and it says "Think spring." Or, you know, if you have a life, feel free to skip it. Apparently I don't today.

Three: SQUUUEEEEEE!!! In 8 hours I am off to Seattle for three solid days of DANCING!!! Yessirree bob, it's another fantabulous dance convention! Like October's, but BIGGER! And BETTER! Aaaaand, I'm not packed, not showered, haven't emptied my memory cards, still need to do the dishes, and ooooh, I dunno, maybe SLEEP a bit? Heaven knows I won't be doing much sleeping while I'm there!

Lookout feet, here I come!!!!

I'm hoping to get some good video of me dancing now that I actually have a camera with sound on the video. If they're not banned. Hmmm...


Won't You Be My Neighbour

From the minute he opened up his door, put on that red, zip-up sweater and 'inside shoes' to when the trolley took you into the land of Make Believe, to the never-changing goodbye routine, Mr Rogers was one of my favourite TV characters. Only he wasn't a character. Sure, maybe he didn't wear the sweaters in real life (or maybe he did?), but he was the same warm, welcoming, caring man in real life, too.

I'd love every moment of that show. I still remember the house - the little mezzanine he came in on, the closet, the bench, the traffic light as you'd go into the kitchen with the blue shelves and table. Mr Rogers would take us on little field trips around the neighbourhood and introduce us to all his friends. Mr. McFeely was a regular, and one of my favourites. "Speedy delivery!" And then of course there was the trolley into the Neighbourhood of Make Believe... Do you remember the puppets? King Friday, Queen Saturday, Prince Tuesday? What about Henrietta Pussycat, Daniel Striped Tiger, or Bob Dog? Lady Elaine Fairchild? X the Owl?

The show holds so much nostalgia for me. I'm only 29, and yet it seems a throwback to a simpler time. I guess that would just be the time of childhood, but I think it's more than that. Kids shows are so different now. Fast, animated (don't get me wrong, I love cartoons), with weird dancing creatures from who knows what kind of planet. Some just reflect a change in times, a change in technology, but still, all those old shows - Mr Rogers, Mr Dressup, Sesame Street, Fred Penner's Place... they were somehow different. Educational. Caring. Not marketed to death.

I was so sad when I heard that Mr Rogers had passed away. That was five years ago - wow, time flies. Today, March 20, would have been his 80th birthday, and Mr McFeely is calling on everyone to wear their favourite sweater in honour of his birthday. Don't have a favourite zip-up cardigan? Then just make an extra effort to do something neighbourly today.

After all, it's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood.

Click here for a touching tribute.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I thought a break was supposed to help STOP things like this

I'm spring cleaning yesterday and today. Windows open, get the dust out, bring the fresh in, dust out the cobwebs from the corners, organize the pile(s!) of papers everywhere, down and dirty type spring cleaning.

I just walked to the storage room/hall closet, got the vacuum out, and brought it to the living room - about 12 steps round trip.

I walked back to the storage room to get the broom and brought it out to the kitchen. Maybe 10 steps round trip?

Then I walked back to the storage room to get the vacuum. Yes, the vacuum I just brought to the living room.

I looked left, looked right, racked my brain as to why the vacuum wasn't there. Who could I have lent it to? Did Becca still have it? Did I leave it up at the place I was volunteering last month? (er, yeah, I don't vacuum that often) Gah! Where's my vacuum?

I walked back out to the living room to call Becca and see if she had it.

And tripped over the hose.

Oh! There's my vacuum!

Mama mia!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The reason I am the way I am *updated with photo*

If you've ever read my list of 100 things about me, you may have noticed #85: "When friends who have known me a while meet my dad, they always go, “AHHH! Now I understand!” "

Well, let me introduce you to my dad, via an email he sent me tonight. Him and my mom are preparing to go on a cruise in a few days...

Hi honey !

We are running around stuffing undies in bags so I guess that means we're really off (off what I'm not quite sure)

It's Sunday aft and we leave Tues morning but this is one more thing off my plate.

Just wanted you to have our "details" so you will know where to scrape up our drippings if we get squished by a giant alien with purple eyes and fed to it's six headed suckling spawn …. *

Some times I just don't know ! <<...>>

I'll include them here and in an attached werd doc fer convenience …

Any Q's call we'll be in n out tonight n tomorrow

Love Dad

Yeppers. That's me dad. He's the bestest dad a daughter could ever want - full of wisdom and love, and would do (and has done) anything for us.

He's just a little bit of a wacko.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Weaving a web of lies

Alternatively, "Easter celebrations in Miss Hillary's classroom."

The Easter Bunny paid our class a visit today. He left footprints, fur, a note, and some treats hidden all over the room - one little pink packet of chocolate eggs for everyone. (No way in heck was the Easter bunny going to leave random eggs strewn about for children to collect. That would have resulted in the biggest pushing shoving crying fiasco ever!) The kids, the little scientists, tried to catch me faking the visit, but no way no how. I had an explanation for everything.

A little background. The room I'm in was Mrs S's room for many years, and most of my kids were in her class last year. Come Easter time, the kids were very excited to tell me the Mrs S's pet bunny Scooter in fact WAS the Easter bunny. She brought him to school last year, took him to another classroom, put him in a little pen, and yet still he escaped and left a note and treats for the kids.

"Woooow!" I told them. "You're so lucky to know the Easter Bunny's real name! Not many people know that, you know!"

So of course, today, the note was signed "Love, the Easter Bunny (Scooter)" After the kids were finished their little Easter hunt, we were talking about it back on the carpet.

"You know, Mrs S emailed me last night to tell me that Scooter had escaped. He must have come back to 'his' old class to leave the treats for you!"

- No way! You're faking! That writing is all fancy [I... er, Scooter, had written the note in cursive] and Scooter's writing was messy!

Well what do you think Easter Bunnies DO all year? They make Easter Eggs and they learn to write in fancy printing to leave pretty notes. Scooter was just a young little Easter Bunny last year. He's much older now and has been practicing his printing all year long! He's gotten much better now!"

- Yeah! We learn stuff at school, so does the Easter Bunny.
- Hey! He goes to Easter Bunny school!

- But Scooter is only little, how did he write that note so high up?

Bunnies can jump really high!

- Hey, yeah! First he jumped here [a small shelf] then he jumped here [a child's chair] then up here [onto my chair] and then he wrote the note!

- These footprints aren't real! You just used flour! [icing sugar, actually. Darnit! They were paying attention to ingredient names when we baked bread earlier this week!]
- Yeah, it's the same as Santa's footprints!

No, that's not flour! Those are bunny prints! Santa and the Easter Bunny share the same magic, so that's probably why their footprints look the same!

- Ooooh! Maybe the Easter Bunny hopped all the way to the North Pole and got some magic from Santa at his workshop!

Yep! That's probably what happened!

- Wait! This bunny fur isn't real! It's the same as the cotton balls we used to make our bunny box tails yesterday!

Nooo! It's different! I bought that fluff because it looks just like real bunny fur! It really is close, isn't it?!

- But Scooter was BROWN, and this fluff is white!

Oh, yes, but in the winter time, bunnies grow extra fur under their normal fur to help keep them warm. Lots of animals do that. Now, because Spring is coming and it's getting warmer, they lose all that fur. That's what all that white fluff is - it's warm cozy wintertime bunny fur!

- But Scooter lives in Mrs S's house! It's warm there all the time, so he doesn't need the extra fur!

Yeah, but bunnies still do that, it's just what they do.

- But then he'd be hot.
- Maybe Mrs S has a special fan to keep the bunny cool, then she'd be freezing.

Haha! She WOULD be!

- But...
- Isn't...
- Why...

[I cut them all off.] Tell you what! Mrs S is going to come and visit after Spring Break, why don't you ask HER about the Easter Bunny. Ok, boys and girls, it's time for Calendar. [and time for me to stop being the reason you're going to need extensive therapy when you're older!]

Guess I'd better point Mrs S to this post so we're on the same page when she gets bombarded with questions about bunny school and Scooter's special fan, hey? Tee hee hee!

Hooray for Spring Break! It's officially started!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fun with nutrition *Updated*

There's just something about FOOD that makes learning fun! You may remember last year's McDonald's experiment. HOO BOY that was nast-ay. We're not getting nearly that gross this year. With the little ones it's all about learning to classify the food groups... which resulted in my effective, yet somewhat creepy teachable moment in the lunchroom today: "Woooow! Look! Our lunch has all four food groups in it! Everybody point to your grain product! Point to your meat! Where's your vegetables? Uh oh! Lenny, where are your veggies? Ok, everybody point to your milk product! Hooray! All four food groups! This must be a healthy lunch!" [This must be a scary greasy mystery meat 'chicken burger' whose stench makes me wanna hurl. And this, folks, is why TEACHERS, not hollywood types should get Oscars.]

But I digress.

We've rocketed our way through fruits and vegetables, grain products, and meat and alternates. Milk products is next and by hook or by crook, I'm fitting it (and Easter, and St Patrick's Day, and the rest of the sexual abuse prevention kit, and a spring time art activity) in by Friday. GAK!

But oh what fun we've been having! For the fruits and veggies group, we read the book "Stone Soup." Everybody brought in their favourite veggie, cut it up, and we made soup from a stone, learning that sharing makes all things so much better. (aw!!) They LOVED cutting the vegetables... but hated the soup! Only one kid ate it. Monique,* one of my little know-it-all grade ones [who, when other kids were giving words like "ball" and "box" for words that started with the letter B, came up with "blush" and "beauty"] suggested, "You know, it probably would have tasted better if you had used chicken stock." Right.

So. Stone Soup. They all loved it, and learned a lot about vegetables from it. Er, too bad they didn't learn that vegetables taste GOOD. Better luck next year.

For grain products, I hijacked my friend's bread maker and today we made bread! They were SO excited to put all the ingredients in, see the dough rise, and then eat the fresh, hot bread, complete with butter and honey. Mmmm! The whole hallway smelled of fresh bread all afternoon! (Better than the cabbage smell that filled it when we were making our soup last week. Er, sorry guys!)

We intro'd meat and alternates today, but I'm not really sure what to do for that one. "Here kids! Let's sample a pork chop and some ground chuck!" Er, no. It's ok, we don't have a lot of time, anyway. Maybe I'll think of something for next year.

But milk? Oh THIS one is going to be fan-tastic! I was just gonna give them all ice cream as a treat till I learned this super-stupendous fact: Did you know (you probably did, cause you're already smartie mcsmartiepantses, but I'm learning all this as I go and it's SO FUN!) that you can MAKE ice cream simply by putting a cream/sugar/vanilla mix into a small ziplock, putting the small ziplock into a large ziplock with ice, and shaking it for 5 minutes?!?!?! Can we say, most awesome activity EVER? (even if only for the fact that 5 solid minutes of shaking a heavy bag will tire out my overly-hyped up orangutans? That's gotta be the best part!)

Now the question is, do we do that on Thursday, which will be tricky to be ready for, or on Friday, when we've also got our classroom Easter Egg hunt planned? (Heh. Maybe we should talk about "foods to limit" on Friday, too. "Ok, kids, now chocolate and candy are foods to limit. AND THERE'S OODLES OF IT HIDDEN ALL OVER THE CLASSROOM! GO FIND IT!"

*** UPDATE ***

Um, DUH!!! Clearly I missed the glaringly OBVIOUS. Seriously. Hip hip HOORAY for AfricaBleu for pointing it out to me. Meats & Alternatves + Easter + "Gee, what on earth am I going to do for an Easter activity" = DYE EASTER EGGS!!!! What? Seriously? I didn't think of that??? I was even at school yesterday wondering how he heck to make paper Easter eggs for art and reading the nutrition booklet thingy that was weirdly obsessed with talking about eggs instead of other meats/alternatives. And yet I didn't connect the two. Riiiiight. HOO-RAY for AfricaBleu.

See? That's why I love you people! You save my LIFE.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Friday can not come soon enough

I'm ready. The kids are ready. Even the cherry blossoms, crocusses, and tulips are ready. It's time for spring. More specifically, it's time for spring BREAK. Ho-lee. I'm hangin' in there by a thread, I tell ya. The kids are nutty, I'm overtired and out of patience, and everyone's getting on everyone's nerves. Last week was IN-SANE, and this week's shaping up to be the same. Good thing it's chocolate sale time and I can hoover back a box of chocoalte covered almonds or minty meltaways after school every day. (Um, did I just admit that? Yes, Yes, I believe I did.)

Three and a half more days.

I! Can! Do! It!

I hope...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I'm a big ball of random

Coming up to Easter time, there are a lot of chocoalte bunnies around. Every time I see one THIS SONG rolls through my head. I thought of finding the video on YouTube to share with you (cause I'm generous like that!) and found that there was quite the controversy with this song. They made it, took out a line ("I don't love my mom or my dad, just the bunny") and then apparently still got flack, so made a "New and improved" version. And then YouTube commenters are all up in arms: "What, you change evil a bit and then it's ok? It's still idolatry!" Wha?


The mostly original version:

The New and Improved version (and can I say... I LOVE JEAN CLAUDE!)

Well, I'm off to eat the bunny....

(um, no really. My mom gave me a dark lindt bunny on Tuesday. I'm having his ears for breakfast.Hence why I was thinking of this song...)