Saturday, May 31, 2008

Let the writing commence!

"NaBloPoMo: Not just in November anymore!"

NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) has gotten so popular that it now runs year round. Every month there is a theme and bloggers sign up - committing to post every day for a month with something along the lines of that theme. I figure, I post almost every day anyway, so why not?

I haven't done it since the "official" one in November (which is now no longer official) but I really liked June's theme:

The theme for June blogging is home. Whatever home means to you: a place where you keep all your stuff, the place you came from, a place you dream of creating, or something you hold in your heart.

Like the saying goes, "Home is where the heart is." So in addition to posts directly related to my home - the one I am from, the one I live in, the one I dream of having - I plan on writing about things and about people that are close to my heart. It'll be a gran ol' mish mash, if you will. So saddle up! Here goes!

Happiness is...

... last minute plans that quickly trumped the Friday night plan of eating a quick and easy dinner and falling asleep on the couch by myself
... abandoning all "should be's," "oughtta be's," and "would be's" for a fun evening off
... three girlfriends in a red jeep jabbering about life & boys & dancing & babies & more boys
... chocolate with a generous splash of grand marnier melting on the stove
... a never-ending plate of bananas and cherries and oranges and strawberries and watermelon - all doused in mouth-watering warm gooey dark chocolate
... laughing gut-splittingly and hysterically at a good movie... and at eachother!
... good girlfriends, silliness, and friendships that make me a rich, rich woman

Thanks, ladies! You made my week! :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Workplace hazards

I have DRA elbow.

'Tis the season for administering the Developmental Reading Assesments. This means lots of independent work for the other kids while I sit with them one at a time and listen to them read, take running records, discuss the book and ask comprehension questions.

I sit sideways to my table in those little mini chairs, knees up by my ears, pencil in my left hand on the table, while I face the student who is reading to me and have my right hand in my lap. I'm resting on my left elbow as I check off miscues and make notes about the reading strategies they use.

And I've been resting on my elbow so much that it is swollen and sore. Do you think worker's comp covers DRA elbow? No? I didn't think so either! hehehe!

In other news, I'm not exactly sure how this happened, but there's been a flurry of field trip planning in the last week and, including this week, we now have one field trip a week until the end of the school year. ONE. TRIP. A. WEEK. That's insane!

This week we went to go see Alligator Pie - a live theatre production based on the poems of Dennis Lee. Next week we're walking over to the high school to see the theatre department's production of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. Not to mention that we're showing the movie How To Eat Fried Worms as the wrap-up to our worm unit AND it's Sports Day on Friday. The week after that we're taking the bus (oh. my. good. heavens - PUBLIC TRANSIT with 42 six, seven, and eight year olds?!?!?! What were we THINKING?) to the Vancouver Museum to do the Pioneer Vancouver program. The week after that is Beach Day - a full day of play at Stanley Park's Second Beach. And, just cause we're suckers for punishment, the third-to-last day of school we're braving public transit AGAIN to go to Science World to play, explore, discover and do a workshop all about soil and worms.

Oh man, I'm exhausted already just thinking about it!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cause I'm anal like that

Yesterday I put up a bulletin board with some fabulous stories my kidlets had written. As soon as I was finished, I realized that the stories slowly get higher and higher as they go along the row. They're not level. It bothered me last night, but I was in a hurry to leave so didn't do anything about it. But it's been grating at my eyeballs all day today, and even though it's 6:16pm and I am hungry and tired and have work to do at home and I am so SO sick of being here today, I am going to stay and fix it. I will measure down from the top of the board, make a faint pencil line to line them all up to, pull all the staples out, and REDO the bulletin board so that it's level.

I am a sick, sick woman.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Even when life doesn't go as I'd planned

Oh how I try for this to be true...

I’d rather stand on the edge of a cliff
And hang my toes over a bit,
And then jump when they dare me,
Even if it scares me,
And I get hurt.
I’d rather build my wings on the way down,
Do my best not to fall to the ground
and then laugh at my mistakes
‘cause they're only lessons I’ll learn.

I’d rather burn with desire deep in my soul,
And love like a fire that’s out of control,
and laugh and dance and fall and chance and kiss
I’d rather live my whole life with a sense of abandon,
Squeeze every drop out, no matter what happens.
And not wonder what I've missed...

I’d rather risk.

Well I guess I could just play it safe
and forget about love, hope and faith,
with my eye on the shore line,
keeping my boat tied and staying home...
Oh, but I’ll never discover new land
by keeping my feet on the sand
No I’d rather set sail
and get carried away by the storm.

I’d rather burn with desire deep in my soul,
And love like a fire that’s out of control,
and laugh and dance and fall and chance and kiss
I’d rather live my whole life with a sense of abandon,
Squeeze every drop out, no matter what happens.
And not wonder what I've missed...

I’d rather risk.

~ Words and music by Paul Brandt

Sunday, May 25, 2008

It's me! On YouTube!

(With sound this time. Heh.) My friend Jon put together this little montage of our Coke and Mentos experiment gone wrong. It's way condensed (there was over 6 minutes of footage, and even that wasn't the whole thing!) and so, so funny. Enjoy!

Spreadin' the love

Leespea writes one of the best 'teacher blogs' around. Her stories about her squirrels, as she calls them, are hysterical, and her dedication to and love love LOVE of her job is phenomenal! She's always got a positive take on life.

Recently she's given not one, but TWO shoutouts to me on her blog... she's been pilin' on the blog love and passing out the warm fuzzies left right and center. So a huge thank you to her, and now it's time to pay it forward! So here ya go... I'm passing on the "I Love You This Much" award to these ten bloggers (only ten???). These women and this gent make me laugh, make me think, challenge me, entertain me, inspire me, encourage me, pray for me or wish me well, and are just all-round awesome people. If you haven't seen their blogs yet, go check them out and say hello! And friends, if I haven't met you already, hopefully one day I will get to! Thank you for being you!

1. Sarah IS Sarah Cool
2. Anne is A Little Bit Crazy (hehe)
3. Jean's life is A Slice of the Epic
4. Katrina writes Notes on a Napkin
5. Melissa, who's Part of Everything
6. Africa Bleu's life - full of Pith, Marrow, and Coffee Spoons
7. Slush of Slush Turtle
8. Heather's always got One More Last Word
9. Shelli is The Singing Banker
10. Denney the Beatnik Poet

Leespea gets one, too, of course! :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

First Camping Trip of the Year: SUCCESS! (part 2)

Missed part one? Go here!

I last left off with us being totally safe and obedient of all signage around the lodge "ruins." *ahem* For some reason we decided it would be a good idea to scale the wall on the way back instead of using the path. Um, yeah. Oh well, we made it out safe and sound.

Danger? What danger?

Trudy and Laurie had left from the park to go visit one of Laurie's friends, so the rest of us headed back to our camp. Two more of Jon and Reg's friends were there, and we quickly got back to our silliness on the beach. I learned all about a number of different skills that were possible involving fire, pop bottles, and rocks: chicken farts, exploding pop bottles in the fire, and the "happy birthday sausage." That last one is what happens when you're trying to roast a piece of sausage over the fire and the fire burns through your stick, thus dropping the sausage on the ground and leaving a still-burning piece of stick lodged in the meat. It looks just like a wee little birthday candle!

But most fun of all was the diet coke and mentos experiment. Oh yes! You've all seen it on YouTube, no? Put a pack of mentos into a bottle of coke and BOOM! Holy foamy Coke geyser, Batman! Jon tried his first and it was spectacular!

Reg had another plan. He wanted to put the mentos in the bottle then quickly screw on the cap, throw it in the air, and let the pressure that had built up in the bottle and the shock of the bottle hitting the ground work together to create a spectacular explosion of coke and foam and awesomeness. We devised a plan, interviewed Reg, got the cameras rolling (two videos and me on the rapid fire setting), and went for it! IN went the mentos. ON went the cap. UP went the bottle. DOWN came the bottle. "DUCK!" yelled the people....

and BOUNCE! went the bottle.

Reg and Coda the dog ran after it to try it again. UP! DOWN! DUCK! ...


And again! UP! DOWN! DUCK! ...


This carried of for quite some time. Eventually Reg tried throwing it against something hard. A large driftwood log. It bounced right back at him, nearly taking him out.

And so commenced the "pelt it with rocks" strategy... which also didn't work. But boy, did they try! Eventually the "throw it against something hard" strategy and the "pelt it with rocks" strategy were combined.

Also to no avail. Enter Peter to assist.

Still no luck. That coke bottle - now scratched, dented, and the label almost totally torn off - WOULD JUST NOT BREAK.

We pretty much all had tears streaming down our faces from laughing so hard. At least, I did! It was hysterical. Eventually the bottle was put out of its misery. One large rock pummeled down at close range finally busted that thing open.


Hmm... not so hysterical reading about it? Trust me, it was FUNNY!

That evening we did some more exploring. Jon took me through the craziest little path through the bushes to the top of the waterfall... it was only about three feet tall so we had to kinda crouch walk. It felt like we were travelling through an enchanted thicket and would arrive out the other side in some kind of fairy tale! The river on top was gorgeous - grooves and deep holes carved in the rock by the flowing river with a view out to the ocean. Very cool! Back at camp, we enjoyed some more campfiring, conversationning, and playing with fire before heading to bed. Note: Camp fuel on the fire makes for spectacular fireballs, and there IS a way to put a plastic pop bottle in the flames and not have it melt. Check.

The next morning we went back up the magical mystical path to the river above the falls and played with Coda the dog for a bit before packing up (in the rain!) and heading back to civilization to clean up and catch the ferry home. (Why, oh why did I have SO! MUCH! STUFF!?!)

The weekend was definitely a big highlight of my last few months. It was SO nice to just get away and relax - no worries, no work, no chores, no errands, just play, play, play. And I was so happy to meet some really great people! Peter and Bronwyn, Reg and Faa, and Jon - they were all so much fun! And of course, Trudy and Laurie - there's ALWAYS fun and fantasticity where they're involved!

Here's to friends, here's to camping, here's to God's awesome creation!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I carried a watermelon?!?

Oy vey, do dumb things come out of my mouth. Or, more accurately, just a LOT of things come out of my mouth. I basically talked Dooce's ear off. Go me.

So yes, I really did go meet Heather and Jon Armstrong tonight down at Granville Island tonight. I stood in line for over an hour - but that's ok - there lots of cool people in the lineup to talk to. First impression: wow, are they ever tall! And beautiful. They were super laid back, despite having been there for two and a half hours talking to dozens of strangers. Hmm... I'm trying to remember what we chatted about. What they were going to do in Vancouver, how great blogging is for meeting cool people (Anne, Jean, and Sarah, I told her about our Chicago weekend, etc), and random chit chat about Chuck, Coco, and Leta (dog, dog, daughter, in that order). But mostly I just randomly talked at her.

Hehehe, I'm such a geek! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

First Camping Trip of the Year: SUCCESS! (part 1)

I can't even remember the last time I had this much fun on a camping trip. Surely you know me by now: I'm all for finding wacky ways of having fun and always up for an adventure. This weekend was both, and in a variety of ways!

When I told my friend Jon that my plans for camping this long weekend seemed to be falling through, he saved the day and invited me and my eager-to-go-camping friends to head over to the island and join him and some of his friends for the weekend. Score! This long weekend wasn't gonna be a bust after all!

So off we headed - my friends Trudy, Laurie, and I - braving the ferries of insanity, and arrived in Victoria around 10am on Saturday. We headed downtown for some sightseeing, ridiculously overpriced sandwiches, a free concert on the lawn of the Legislative buildings, wandering around in the beautiful Beacon Hill Park (which would have been made more complete with a stop off to pet some baby goats at the petting zoo... but not for three bucks! Baby goats should be FREE to pet, darnit! Aw well, you can't have everything, I suppose!) and some time goofing around with slurpies and cameras on Mount Douglas, high above the city.

After a day of chillaxing in the crazy hot weather (uh, mental note: wear SUNSCREEN. My nose and forehead look rather reptilian right now. "Hello, I'm Hillary, and my NOSE IS FLAKING OFF." Cuuuute.), Jon picked up his friends Reg and Faa from the ferry and we set off for the beach. Two cars and a set of walkie talkies between us made for an amusing drive, even though we DID forget all the fruit and veggies we had JUST BOUGHT in Jon's fridge. D'OH

A short walk down a forested path led us to a long stretch of rocky beach strewn with logs pounded smooth by the sea and sparsely dotted with tents and campfires. We walked down the beach far enough to be away from other people and set up camp, clearing away the large rocks to make a somewhat flat place for our tents and gathering driftwood for the spectacular campfire that would burn for three days straight.

I woke up early-ish the next morning and headed out to sit by the water for a while. It was a sunny morning, though the wind was still cool. It was so, so refreshing to just sit, listening to the waves rolling the stones back and forth underneath them, and to look out across the water to the mountains on the other side. I cracked my Bible open to the Psalms and reminded myself of God's presence and God's character.

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
___let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
___and extol him with music and song.
For the LORD is the great God,
___the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
___and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
___and his hands formed the dry land...
Psalm 95:1-5

As most people were still not up, I decided to go for a walk to the waterfalls back down the beach a ways. I'd seen pictures before, but in the morning sun, they were spectacular. They weren't very high, but the greenery of the forest behind them against the grey-black stones of the beach and blue sky, and the sunlight catching the mist as the water fell to the ground... it took my breath away. I only wish the photos I took could do it justice.

Once everyone got up, we had breakfast and set out to do some serious playing. We (and by "we" I mean "the others") built a wall to protect the fire from the wind. We contemplated why a lone carpenter ant would continue to try to walk INTO the fire (perhaps the same reason a monkey would eat a screw?). And then we set up our kites. Loop-de-loops, dive-bombs, kite crashes, and bull kelp for tails kept us amused for quite some time.

We went into town for lunch and then headed up to Sooke Potholes - a park that follows a river along narrow, rushing channels and large, calm pools. We saw a deer, flocks of tiny blue butterflies (flocks? What do you call a group of butterflies???), and I even caught a frog - but not before the poor froggie tried numerous times to kamikaze suicide jump out of my grasp! Sorry little froggie!!!! We sunned ourselves on the rocks and participated in some general tomfoolery which may or may not have included splashing people with freezing cold river water and poking each other with sticks. The hike was beautiful, but I think the most interesting part of the afternoon was heading up to the site of what was to become the Deer Trail Resort.

Twenty years ago or so, a developer decided he wanted to build a resort way up the canyon and high above the river. Construction began, but the area just wasn't suited to that kind of construction and the developer went bankrupt, leaving a half-completed chateau high up in the hills. The spectacular stone chimneys and fireplaces are still there, as are stairs, arches and walls of what would have been a beautiful structure. The large wooden beams have since rotted away or been taken out, but the stone remains. The whole site looks like the ruins of a castle!

Of course there are danger signs all around and it's fenced off with barbed wire... but that didn't exactly stop us, especially considering there's one section of fence you can just walk around, follow a trail along the back of the site, and voila! You're inside! What's life without a little bit of adventure, anyway? Ummm... I mean... we were TOTALLY SAFE and obeyed ALL SIGNS. Yup. Uh-huh. That's what we did...

Part two to follow. Full photo set here.

It's official. I am the biggest nerd in the whole wide world.

Why, you say? Because I'm thinking of heading down to Granville Island tomorrow evening for a meet-and-greet with DOOCE, the Utah blogger who has officially arrived as "queen of the blogosphere."

Yes. I really did just admit I'm going out of my way to go meet. a. famous. blogger. BUT she's a famous blogger who ranks Vancouver as the "coolest place she's ever been." BOOYEAH!

Um, I'm going to go hang my head in shame now...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tales from the cave

We're beginning a new unit at school. Part of the grade 2 curriculum is to compare and contrast how life was in the late 1800s to what life is like now. There's a perfect chapter book called "Matt and Jenny" that follows the adventures of, you guessed it, Matt and Jenny, as they find themselves transported back to the Vancouver of 1886. Before I began reading the book today, we did the math to find out how many years ago that was, and then I asked the kids what they thought life was like a-waaay back then, just to see what they'd say. The results were hilarious!

What do you think toys were like in 1886?
- they didn't HAVE toys back then, Miss Hillary!
- sticks and rocks
- toys made of mud

What do you think transportation was like in 1886?
- they rode goats! (J. - seriously! That was the first thing out of their mouths! What IS it with goats???)
- they didn't have cars back then.
- no, they rode motorcycles!

What do you think school was like in 1886?
- in a cave!
- they went to the beach and instead of paper they wrote with sticks in the sand
- in a building with walls and no roof
- they didn't have to go to school! There was nothing to learn
- ... I wish *I* lived in those olden days!

Oh, how those rugrats crack me up!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I don't travel on the ferries to and from Vancouver Island all that much, but I do it enough to know the standard announcements that they make:

"Would all passengers please return to their vehicles for boarding."
"Would the driver of a such-and-such car, licence blahbitty blah blah please return to the vehicle deck."
"Attention passengers. The ship's whistle will now sound." [Which, by the way, even when I *know* it's coming, still makes me jump right out of my skin.]

Etc. Etc. Etc. You know, the mundane "get buisness done" type of announcements.

Well this was the long weekend, aka WEEKEND OF FERRY INSANITY.

First there were the lineups. Even reservations were crazy, but we made it on. I was a walk-on passenger on the way home, and there was even a one sail wait for WALK-ONS. Insanity, I tell you. Insanity! The lineup wound back and forth throught the entrance area and then began winding its way out into the parking lot. We were aiming for the 6pm ferry. Ha! Not likely. We weren't even sure we'd get the 7.

And then there was transportation. Um, an over 200-person lineup for a transit bus that holds max 60 people? Yeeeeeah. I ended up splitting a cab with two other people who thankfully and awesomely lived really close to me. Hooray!

But back to the announcements. The more people you have, the more the chance of wacky things happening, I guess, and the more craziness you have to put out over the PA.

"Just a message to the people playing with a green frisbee in the parking lot. Your frisbee just hit a car. Your game is now over."

Them ferry people. They don't let anyone have any fun! heh. And what was that? Threat? Statement of fact? Did the ferry gods confiscate the frisbee and just wanted to let them know? A not-so-subtle way of asking them to stop? Whatever. It made us laugh!

"Please may we have your attention for an important announcement. We have reached maximum capacity in the cafeteria on this sailing. If there are people who are finished their meals, not eating, or PLAYING CARDS, please vacate the cafeteria to make room for other patrons."

Yes, those italics, caps, and bolding are necessary to convey the force of the words and the disgust behind them. Let me see... finished eating? OK. Not eating? OK. I think that covers playing cards. I pity whoever it was that was sitting down for a little game of gin rummy. Trying to have some fun, then SHAMED OUT OF YOUR SEATS by the ferry announcers. Hehehe!

But the best one was as we were walking off. "Would the passenger who left a package of fresh meat please return to the info desk to pick it up? I repeat, please come pick up your fresh meat. We. don't. want. it."

I don't even know what to say about that one. Freeeesh meat! It was an interesting ride, that's for sure.

Of course in between the moments of ferry insanity was the WEEKEND OF TOTAL AWESOMENESS. More details to come!

Friday, May 16, 2008


BOO HISS. I got my letter yesterday. The one telling me that my five years at my awesome school is now over. I'd be crying about it if I wasn't so irked at a few aspects of how it all came down. Oh don't worry. There will be plenty of tears to come. More on this later. I don't really want to talk about it.

WOO HOO. Make that a double WOO!!!!! HOO!!!!! With superfluous exclamation points!!!!! And bold lettters!!! This weekend is a long weekend, and I'm going away for the first official camping trip of the year. Some friends and some friends of friends and I are all going to head off to a little known beach, pitch our tents, and have ourselves some serious fun. No campground, no other people (I hope!)... and, er, no bathrooms, but hey, that's what the forest is for... right? I'm excited to be outside, I'm excited to get to fall alseep listening to the ocean, I'm excited to just relax, I'm excited to find some goofy shenanigans to busy ourselves with, I'm excited to have some early morning time with God at the water's edge, I'm excited to get some great photos, and I'm excited to meet some awesome new people (here's lookin' at you!).

Our location is secret. If I told you, I'd HAVE to kill you. Well, ok, maybe not, but still. Too bad! I'm keeping this one to myself! :) But here's a few photos of the beach (photos link back to the people who took them. And yes, Melissa, I fully expect an email later on telling me that you found out what beach. Ready? GO! *grin*). I'll post photos of my own in the next few days.

The cookies are baked, the tent is hauled out of storage, and I'm off! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Boot Camp!

I've succumbed to the insanity once again and have been going to boot camp three days a week for the last four weeks or so now. It's a different one than I did last year - more of a circuit thing with all kinds of different equipment - medicine balls, resistance bands, skipping ropes, agility ladders... tire innards filled with sand that we haul around whilst running stairs or doing wind sprints.

Yeah. BOOT. CAMP. It's intense.

BUT, as I've done many times before (like this and this, for example), what I do is take something that I'm doing in my own life and incorporate it into the classroom. In this case, I'm running "PRIII-MA-RY! BOOT! CAMP!" for my kids in gym this month. We have stations like jumping jacks and push ups, and coordination stations where they throw a ball against a wall and try to catch it, co-operation stations where they have to work together to pass a ball from side to side... all kinds of good stuff! After each station we all circle up and do a group activity together for a minute or so. Today I had them squat down like they were sitting in a chair and then run in place really fast. Every now and then I'd yell "LIE DOWN!" "GET UP!" or other random directions.

They L-O-V-E-D it! The giggles, the squeals! It was SO much fun! I had a big hand drum I took into the gym with me, and at the end of each station, as my "stop" signal, I'd bang it: BOOM BA-DA BOOM BOOM! and the kids would all shout back in the same rhythm, "PRI-MA-RY BOOT CAMP!"

They get to yell, they get to move, and *I* get to tire them out! Man, even I was breaking a sweat today!

But I tell you, these kids are SO funny trying to do these exercises. Balls flying everywhere, skipping ropes tripping them up, and the push up station. OOOOH the push up station. Ever watched a 7 year old try to do a push up?

There's the butt in air version, the lie on the ground and lift your shoulders in the air version, the kneel on all fours and just dip your chin to the ground version... all of which are hilarious and so, so cute.

Gotta keep doing boot camp, if only for comic relief!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's all downhill from here

Stopped at stoplight on my way to tutoring last night, I was fiddling with my hair when I saw a curious sight. One hair seemed to be really, really blonde. This is strange, as I am definitely NOT a blonde. Highlights, maybe, but this was even lighter than that. So I isolated it and yanked it out. To my horror, I found that it was NOT just really blonde.

It was grey.


I had found my first grey hair. It's inevitable, I suppose, but right then, sitting in my car at Clark and King Ed, a little part of me died inside.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Banging my head on my desk

"He/She's not the boss."

Oh, if I had a dime for every time I've said those words this year. Today, I felt like if I had to say them one. more. time. my head was going to explode.

"Miiiyuss Hiiillaryyyy [in tattletale tone], so-and-so said I'm not allowed to play freeze tag with them at recess!"
He's not the boss. Of course you can play.

Miiiyuss Hiiillaryyyy, so-and-so's not letting me play with the lego!"
She's not the boss. You don't have to ask permission.

"Miiiyuss Hiiillaryyyy, so-and-so keeps telling me to be quiet!"
To so-and-so: You're not the boss!

A student gets up from the carpet and goes to sit at his desk.
Where are you going?
"So-and-so said that was three [his last chance] and told me to go back to my desk."
Come back and sit down, please. To so-and-so: Are you the boss?

You're not the boss. He's not the boss. She's not the boss.

And don't even get me started on "It's not a race."


Thursday, May 08, 2008


As much as my class is frustrating at times, I cannot believe how much I have enjoyed this year of teaching as compared to other years. (No, no, it's not over yet, but we ARE coming down the home stretch!) I never thought I'd be a primary girl, but turns out I am! I love it! It's more concrete, I feel more comfortable, I'm not overwhelmed to the cusp of burnout with all the marking...

I love all that I've learned about teaching this year, and have been saying how much I'm looking forward to finally getting to do the same job again next year. For once, I won't have to change. For once I get to take all the mistakes I've made and the learning I've done this year and apply it next year. With five years seniority and people with less under me at my school now, things should be fairly stable for next year.

Should being the operative word. Turns out that's not so much the case.

The principal called me into her office yesterday to talk about something. As soon as she asked me to take a seat, I had flashbacks to last year. When she bagan with, "We've been looking at staffing for next year..." I knew what was coming and my heart sunk like a ton of bricks. If everything remains as it is, I will be surplussed at the end of this year. This means that, while I still have a job, I won't be at my school and I will be doing whatever job is given to me, basically. Could be intermediate, could be prep, could be two different jobs at two different schools... anything. And most likely I'll be subbing full time till something comes up. How does this happen? Well it turns out that the person who is more junior to me was surplussed last year from a different job, and so now is protected from being surplussed for three years. They just move to the next junior person. Hi, hello, how are you doing?

'Member last year? I just finished posting about how much I was loving my job one Friday afternoon when the principal called me down to tell me the same freakin' thing?

Nothing is official yet, but there are even fewer options to potentially avoid being surplussed available to me than there were last year. Last year there were a few: take a K class, move to French Immersion, and the surprise option of my friend changing districts and freeing up the class I have now... Not so this year. There might be one job available in French, but it's back in intermediate, and not only am I not confident enough in my French to teach in intermediate, I don't want to go back to the upper grades. Not only that, every book, every resource that I've bought over the last five years would be completely useless, as they're all in English. I've invested waaaay too much money (seriously. It's obsene.) to move to French now. No way.

The thing is, I SO love my school. I've been there for five years now. Five years of getting to know people, of developing relationships, of knowing every kid in the school from when I used to teach them all music. Five years of the most wonderful people I could ever want to work with - and I really don't say that lightly. I have been SO blessed this year to have the teaching partners that I have. They are amazing - their support, expertise, encouragement, ideas, generosity, and friendship... they have blown me away. Our school is special (heh, and I'm not just biased!). Everyone who comes to work there (new staff, employees on call, volunteers, etc) comments on what a warm, freindly school it is and on how great the kids are. We have our challenges, of course, but I so love this place.

I don't think I'm even really processing the idea of leaving yet. I guess I'll wait till it's official, but even thinking about it makes me so, so, incredibly sad. And frustrated, too. Five years of doing soemthing different every. single. year. There are NO guarantees I'll get the grade I want next year. It'll be starting all over YET AGAIN, but this time not only with the job but in a whole new community. I don't know if I can do it. The thought of it exhausts me to no end.

Talk about a kick in the gut when I'm down.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Seriously. How do I allow my life to get so insane? Staff meetings, tutoring, dance lessons, housework, Bible study, boot camp, running, working late, seminars, computer shtuff... arg!

On the other hand, I'm finally getting caught up on some of the photos I've been needing to upload, sort, and *shock!* will maybe even post a few soon! I've also finished adding the rest of my "teaching tales" to the archives now we've got our own little secret club going on here (sheesh). A few more stories that I never got around to finishing are now up.

And also? Babies! Babies everywhere!!! There are currently four... no, wait... five? teachers from my school off on mat leave, and at least one more who's pregnant. And an old boyfriend who I'm still friends with - he and his wife just had a baby girl. Two more good friends are expecting - one with baby #2, one with baby #3. AND one of my very best friends just had her first one week ago today! Baby Moses! I got to go visit them in the hospital and hold the wee bundle of pure sweetness when he was only 15 hours old. I want one!!! :) (Well, I want a few other things first, but you know what I mean!)

Oh yeah, and along the lines of boy-stuff? Seriously. I'm open to suggestions. Heh!

Hmm. I suppose I should go eat, seeing as it's nearly 9:00. I'm hoping to get some fun pics up soon! Like, later tonight. Cause that will be WAY more fun than housework!


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

What??? Earth Day was two weeks ago, you say? Well not according to my bulletin board, it's not. My kidlets did a big huge writing project a few days before the real Earth Day, but because I'm not as quick on my feet as I'd like to be, I didn't start it in time for them to get if finished by the actual day. But that's ok, it was all done by the Friday after Earth Day.

As with all projects they work really hard on, I promised them that I'd put their writing up on the bulletin board outside our classroom, and they were excited about it being showcased. I didn't get to it on Friday, as I was at a workshop at the board all day. I had no time to take down the current bulletin board and put up the new one. Monday was an after school staff meeting. Tuesday I was dealing with this work situation till late. Wednesday I had to leave early to go tutoring. Turns out I was away on Thursday and Friday of last week, too. Yesterday was another meeting, so today... finally today, I got a chance to put up the Earth Day projects.

Two full weeks after Earth Day.

No problemo. The title accross the bulletin board? "EVERY Day Is Earth Day For Div. 21!"

Heh. What're ya gonna do? I tried, I really did!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Chasing Worms and other random things

Once upon a time, long ago and far away, I read some children's book that had something to do with chasing nightcrawlers. Big, fat, juicy worms. I'd heard of them, but I'd never seen them. Oh, I'd seen the regular ol' earthworms - usually dried up on the sidewalk from a sunny day after the rain. And just recently I've become slightly fascinated with the red wiggler worms we have in our class worm bin/composter. But those guys are tiny.

Nothing prepared me for the sight I saw last night around 10pm when my friend Trudy and I left her house to get a movie. It had been raining most of the day, and was still drizzling a little bit. We noticed on the sidewalk that there were these weird stick things coming out of the grass. Immediately we realized that they were worms, but good golly, these were the biggest worms I'd ever seen in my life. And there were DOZENS of them.

So we did what anybody would do... we poked them! And Zzzzip! They disappeared into the grass. But FAST! Holy smokes those things move quickly.

Well, that just became in invitation to try to catch them. After some girly squealing about "Ewww! They're sliiiimy! Eeeeek!" we set out trying to pick them up. Well, Trudy tried to pick them up. I just poked them to watch how fast they'd zip into their little holes. I can handle holding hte little ones, but worms this big? Holy heebie jeebies, batman!

It was then we noticed in the damp, cropped grass and the glow of the streetlight that they were EVERYWHERE! Hundreds of them - all over the top of the grass, all over the sidewalk, all over EVERYWHERE. The fattest, longest, quickest squirmy wormies I'd ever seen!

Trudy commented that it was little like a sci-fi movie, and that very likely she'd have nightmares. Invasion of the Killer Nightcrawlers, anyone? Worms, multiplying all over the grass, poking their little wormie heads up, waving them around, sensing out their next victim! Run! Run for your liiiives!


Trudy decided she needed something better to grip, so I gave her a Safeway receipt. "Cause if I squish too hard, I won't get worm juice all over my fingers!" She got one, but only cause I think she pulled it in half.

Ummm... or maybe he was just really short. Heh.

We did eventually get our movie - Lars and the Real Girl. Oh my word, hilarious and sweet and so very, very aaaaawkwaaaaard - but not until we'd hunted worms for at LEAST 20 minutes. In the rain. Soaked jeans and backs. Most likely more than one passerby who thought we were slightly crazy.

And then we ate mass quantities of chocolate peanut butter cup fudge ice cream with topped with strawberries and bananas.

Life is good. :)

Friday, May 02, 2008


The change to private for my blogeroonie here is requiring a few adjustments (one being that ME NO LIKEY!). Another is in commenting. If you have a google/blogger account, just email me with the email associated with it and I'll send you an invite under your own account. Then you can comment and it shows up as you.

If you're using the account *I* created, I just realized there's no way of knowing who you are cause there are multiple users. You may like it that way. No problemo. But if you don't want your name to show up as "Invited Reader," then just under the comment box, choose the "Name/URL" button and you can enter your name and (surprise!) your URL if you have one.

Voila? Voila!