Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Heard this on the way home tonight. Haven't heard it in a long time, but sang along to every line and laughed about how very, very true it is. Brad Paisley is a genius.

The video is fantastic. You can watch it here (couldn't find it on YouTube for the life of me).

Someday, I'm gonna be famous.
Do I have talent? Well... no.
These days you don't really need it,
Thanks to reality shows.

Can't wait to date a supermodel,
Can't wait to sue my Dad.
Can't wait to wreck a Ferrari,
On my way to rehab.

'Cause when you're a celebrity,
It's adios reality.
You can act just like a fool,
People think you're cool
Just 'cause you're on TV.
I can throw a major fit
When my latte isn't just how I like it.
When they say I've gone insane,
I'll blame it on the fame,
And the pressures that go with
Bein' a celebrity.

I'll get to cry to Barbara Walters,
When things don't go my way.
An' I'll get community service,
No matter which law I break.

I'll make the supermarket tabloids,
They'll write some awful stuff.
But the more they run my name down,
The more my price goes up.

Cuz, when you're a celebrity, it's adios reality.
no matter what ya do, people think you're cool
Just 'cause you're on TV.
Now, I can fall in and out of love,
Have marriages that barely last a month.
When they go down the drain,
I'll blame it on the fame,
And say: "It's just so tough,
Bein' a celebrity."

So let's hitch up the wagons and head out west,
To the land of fun in the sun.
We'll be real world, bachelor, jackass millionaires [*cough* Jon Gosselin *cough*]
Hey, hey Hollywood, here we come.

Yeah, when you're a celebrity, it's adios reality.
No matter what you do,
People think you're cool just 'cause you're on TV
Bein' a celebrity.

Monday, November 23, 2009


A post every day... or, you know, a two week break with nothin'. Meh, whatever works. I found myself just posting for the sake of posting and realized that I just didn't really care that much. So, yeah. Here I be.

But what I was REALLY going to talk about is pom poms. Sparkly, smooshy, fuzzy little pom poms with which I can get my kids to do practically ANYTHING. (Muah hah ha haaaaa!)

One of the motivators I use in my class are these lovely balls of manipulation motivation. I have a big baggie of them, and when the class does something particularly well - it could be a specific skill they're working on, like walking quietly in the halls, or just in in general good on-task chunk of time - I'll make a big hoopla and put a pom pom into a large jar. The idea is that when the jar is full they get a prize as a class - a movie, extra centers/play time, an extra gym period, that kind of thing.

So one thing I'll always do when I'm away and there's been a guest teacher in the class is (if the note is good) I'll read parts of the note to the class and praise them for a good day with the guest teacher. I've been getting pretty good reports lately, and last Thursday was no different. So today, I was making a big stink about how teachers love to come back to notes about who was helpful, did their work, listened well, etc etc etc.

Oh you guys, I can't even TELL you how much it makes teachers happy to get notes like this from a guest teacher. I am always so proud to have such a great class when guest teachers come in. Teachers looooove getting notes like these!

In the middle of all my oozing, one of my grade three girls pipes up with this gem:

"Then you really should get out more often!"

Allllrighty then!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

She Loves Me, by Jeff Gray

When I got home tonight, I had a fairly large envelope in the mail. It was a book, sent from somewhere in the States, called "She Loves Me" - a collection of observations that kids have of their teacher, and how they know that they are loved by the things the teacher does. It's illustrated by a 14 year old girl who has grown up in Malawi. The book is absolutely beautiful, and it brought tears to my eyes.

And I have no idea where it came from.

There's no return address, and there is just a simple, self stick, hand written address label on the envelope. I can't even tell what state it came from cause the post mark is on the plastic window of the envelope. I didn't order it, I didn't request it. I've never even heard of it!

Any ideas? Email me (link at right) if you know!

How mysterious!

Science World and my Big Fat Hairy Mistake

"This! Is! Soooo! AWESOME!"

Those were the words of one of my kidlets even before we actually started doing anything at Science World on Tuesday. You know a field trip is going to be a hit when...

It was a busy, busy day. We started right off the bat with a workshop on structures. All the kids got to participate in building a giant dome out of triangles and pentagons. There were three jobs - holders, bolters, and wing-nutters. Hmm... maybe I've found a new nickname for some of my most endearingly quirky kidlets! (hehehe... just kidding... maybe!) Poor kids - some had never been to Science World before and our workshop was just off the coolest gallery in the place, with a glass wall. There was so much to take in on the other side of the glass it was hard to concentrate!

After the workshop my kidlets and I rushed off to catch the Omnimax movie, Beavers. What COOL little critters! (And the beavers are interesting, too! Hardee har har...) The theatre was really steep and the kids were a little spooked, especially cause we sat at the top! It took the two boys beside me about five minutes before they stopped clutching their chairs! If you ever want to have some fun, take 6, 7, and 8 year olds to a giagantic Omnimax movie on any kind of science topic. Their comments were PRECIOUS! Kids are such little scientists anyway, they were making predictions and observations right left and center. I seriously need to carry a notebook around with me wherever I go to write some of the stuff they say down. (Leesepea, I don't know HOW you remember whole conversations from your school day... it must be your superpower! By the end of the day, I can barely remember my own name!).

A few great comments:

Upon seeing the sweeping mountains and valley containing the soon-to-be-dammed-up river: "Wooow, that place is so beautiful, I think my eyes are in heaven!"

While watching a bear chase the beavers, climb up on the dam, and break a hole through their house: "Ooooh, come on, beavers! Run! That bear wants to make you into a beaver sandwich! Ruuuun!"

And my favourite, during the beaver-mating scene: "Hey look! They're dancing!"
They were let loose to explore the galleries in the afternoon, and it went really well. They mostly ran from activity to activity, sort of half trying it, never really reading what to do, but enjoying it all the same.

The only downer was a super big blunder on MY part. Holy guilty teacher syndrome, bat man! One of my munchkins lives pretty far from the school, and so it was easier for mom to bring him directly to Science World, so we just met him there. Poor little guy wasn't feeling well so he was having a really hard time enjoying the day. He was complaining of a headache and didn't really want to participate in anything all morning. He curled up and went to sleep for most of the movie, face all scrunched up in pain. I felt so terrible for him. He kinda looked at me like he was doing something bad by sleeping, but I just gave his back a rub and told him to sleep, it was totally ok.

Come lunch time, when all the kids were getting out their bag lunches from the school's lunch program, I realized with horror that I had left this kiddo's lunch back at the school! Aaaargh! I quickly asked someone if they wanted to share their sandwich, and I got out my banana and a granola bar, but I still had to break the news that I had forgotten his lunch. I pulled him aside and apologized profusely, offered him the food that I had, and told him that because I had forgotten, I'd buy him a special drink, did he want Coke or Orange Crush? He seemed to be placated with that, so PHEW! A few minutes into the show (we were eating and watching a science demo show at the same time), he removed himself to go sit in a quieter place. I went over a few minutes later to check on him and he burst into tears.

"[Kiddo], what's the matter? Are you still feeling sick?" He shook his head no. "Hmm... are your feelings hurt because I forgot your lunch at school?" WOAH NELLY, the waterworks started even harder and he nodded his head yes. My heart nearly cracked in two! Of all the kids in my class, he's one of the most sensitive, AND he wasn't feeling well, AND his big mean teacher forgot his FOOD! Good grief, *I* nearly started crying!

"Oh, sweetie, you KNOW I didn't do it on purpose..." Knowing this kiddo and his sense of humour, I tried a tactic to get him to stop crying... "I just made a BIG... FAT... HAIRY mistake!"

I had him at "fat." He guffawed at that, and downright giggled at "hairy." I repeated it again and he was in stitches. He didn't like the sandwich (he had ordered a different kind), so I went upstairs and bought him a bag of popcorn instead. Phew! Crisis averted!

So here's the lesson, folks. With grade two boys, just bust out some fun words like "fat" or "goober" or "snotty pants" and you're almost guaranteed they'll listen to ya!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Take two minutes, would you mind?
It’s a pittance of time
For the boys and the girls who went over
In peace may they rest, may we never forget why they died.
It’s a pittance of time

~ Terry Kelly

Monday, November 09, 2009

Move over, Gretzy, Miss Hillary's class is a-comin'!

Have I mentioned how much I love my class this year? Cause I do. Love my class. They are SO fun! And super adorable. And I SO wish I could show you pictures of their cuteness.

We were in gym today, and we're vaguely doing a floor hockey unit. We do a few passing drills, talk super briefly about a few general rules, and then let them play a game. Of course, they're little, and there's only eleven of them (oh yeah, did I mention I only have ELEVEN KIDS??? I am such a better teacher when I only have eleven kids to deal with, let me tell you!). This makes the gym seem really, really empty, but is good in the sense that they pretty much have no choice but to participate.

I was so proud of one of my girls today - when we first started the unit, she refused to play and just hung back holding the stick limply in one hand. She didn't know how to play and I don't think had a lot of confidence because of it - heck, I can SO relate! I HATED sports as a kid. I had no clue, and so had no confidence at all in gym and in team sport situations. I totally don't blame her! But today she was in there, shooting the ring (we don't use a puck, but a rubber ring thing), passing, stopping, shooting... AH! I was so PROUD of her!

Ah, but where I was really going with this was the goggles. Always safety-conscious, elementary kids have to wear goggles when they play floor hockey. The kind we have are HUGE on the kids, and I totally thought they would all complain, but not ONE of them do. They wear these crazy things and rip around the gym with their hockey sticks, SO into it, and let me tell you, it's all I can do not to totally crack up when an itty bitty grade two boy who's significantly shorter than the net is playing goalie, all gung-ho, wielding a hockey stick that's six inches taller than he is, in goggles that cover three-quarters of his face... and he's actually REALLY GOOD!

If you ever need a pick me up, get a class of grade two and three kids and turn them loose with hockey sticks (heaven help us all!).

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Hooray for a relaxed weekend!

Low key birthday party on Friday night, a bunch of errands and some house cleaning on Saturday, games night at a friend's just down the street Saturday night, a great church service Sunday and lunch with a friend, more household organizing, and a lazy evening on the couch watching Patch Adams. 'Twas grand!

How was YOUR weekend?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Bird's Eye View

UN.BE.LIEVABLE. Since Korr isn't on any map, I never was very sure where to situate it. Since coming home, I was able to pin point it a little closer, using the mountains (hills) around as landmarks, and I actually was pretty close! But this week I was poking around on Google maps again, and learned that YOU CAN SEE KORR on the map! The town, the goobs, the airstrip, the school, the church, my house... even the WELLS are visible! Needless to say, I was pretty excited! It absolutely BLOWS. ME. AWAY. that we can see this!

I've added some markers to show you where stuff is, and to help explain the difference between the "town" and the nomadic villages that are scattered throughout the desert. I've shown our house and the church in one map, and a Rendille goob (village) in the other. You can click and zoom in around each one (click the blue markers to see what each thing is), or click the link below to be taken to a more "big picture" type map. You can zoom in and get a bit of perspective as to where stuff was.

Go to the "big picture" map to explore

Alternatively, here are some links if you want to see...
Tirrim Primary
Tirrim Secondary and the Tirrim Center
Korr Town
The airstrip
View of a current goob and an old site after they have moved
View of a "foor," the camps where warriors stay when they're searching for grazing with the animals

Our house and the church

View Korr in a larger map

A goob (nomadic village)

View Korr in a larger map

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Kenyan Connection

You know how when you learn a new word, you suddenly seem to hear it everywhere? It seems to be the same with going to Africa. Once you've been, it never leaves you (not that you'd WANT it to!), and you find connections seemingly everywhere.

The first Sunday I was back, a lady from Kenya recognized my purseand my scarf, and wanted to know if I'd been to Kenya...

A friend's two roomates are from Kenya and Tanzania, and he's encouraging me to try out my (extremely limited) Kiswahili on them...

I take a break from housework and flip on the TV. The Simpsons is on and, whoop, it's the one where they go on Safari...

I go to the U2 concert and the couple beside overhear me talking to my friends about Africa. Turns out they worked with a Christian orgnaization (I forget which) in Nairobi for two years, and had actually HEARD of Korr...

I meet the members of my new discipleship group last night, and one of them has been to Kenya for a month with YWAM...

These are, of course, just a very few examples. Seems everywhere I go, Kenya pops up in some way, shape or form. Not that I'm complaining, of course. It's definitely not a bad place to be connected to!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Um... thanks?

I really don't know what to do with this.

On my way home from work, I stopped for gas. I also checked for oil, which was a break from usual routine, and so with the second time I closed my door, I locked my keys in my car. Genius, I know. It was just what I needed when I was trying to get home early, get a little bit of work done, and go to bed. (I'm feeling much better today. Still tired, but way better. Don't know what yesterday was all about.)

So I'm at the counter in the station asking the guy for a phone book so I can call a tow truck to unlock my car. A pain, I know, but with my insurance, I'll get it reimbursed, it's just the pain of waiting for a truck to show up. But then a dude in line behind me hears this and asks me, "Hey, what's the problem?"

Me: Uh, I locked my keys in my car.
Dude: Oh, I can help you, I've got a slim jim.
Me: Really? Oh, that's awesome, thanks!
We walk outside to my car, and Dude says: Ok, so my shop is really close, let me just go get it and come back. I'll be about fifteen mintues.
Me: Oh, wow, um... Thanks! Do you have time for that?
Dude: Yeah, sure. I mean, if it takes a really long time, there may be some compensation involved, but I'll try to do it for free.
Me, warning lights going off in my brain: Uh, well, thanks. If you're willing to help, that's great, but if there's a charge, well, uh, I'll get reimbursed for a tow truck, so I'd rather do that.
Dude: Naw, don't worry, I'll try to do it for free.
Me: Uh, ok, well thanks a lot!
Dude: Yeah, don't worry about it, I'll be back in about fifteen minutes.

I go into the gas station and chat with the attendants a bit. They know this guy and say that yeah, his shop is just around the corner. Less than ten minutes later, Dude shows back up again with a coat hanger and a variety of long metal pokey things, none of which are a slim jim, but het, if it gets the job done...

Dude: Yeah, my buddy has the slim jim. He's in Richmond and said no way. If it was me, he'd be here in a flash, but I had to be honest, said I was just helpin' someone out at the PetroCan... said he wouldn't come over, so I dunno if this'll work, but let me give it a try.
Me: Ok, sure.
Dude, after two or three minutes of poking around and popping the lock: There ya go!
Me: Awesome, thank you SO much!
Dude: Here, you can have this, too [the tool he's fashioned to pop the lock]. You'll need it next time.
Me, not really wanting it: Thanks, but you can keep it.
Dude: No, man, you did it once, you'll do it again, keep it and you can use it next time.

I throw the thing in my car, not wanting to get into the discussion that, should I lock my keys in the car again, how am I supposed to actually GET it from out of my car? Whatever.

And then I realize he's not such a good Samaritan after all.

Dude: So how does $15 bucks sound?
Me: Uh, well I told you I could have been reimbursed for the tow truck. [I genuinely had no cash, didn't ASK for his help, and already TOLD him I could have had it done for free]

Dude starts to make protesting faces, and I notice that, as he's got his variety of screwdrivers, hangers, and metal tubes shoved in my window, reefing on them back and forth, he's totally dented up and scratched the metal trim.

Me: Uh, it's all dented here now...
Dude: Ok, well make it ten. Bring it over to my garage, we can fix it... But not for free. [chuckles]

[Side note: Where he pointed to when was was talking about his garage was down a street I drive every single day to and from work, and there's nothing but residential there for blocks and blocks, so it's obviously quite literally a GARAGE that he does work out of. Probably not equipped to fix the damage, not that I'd take it to him, anyway!]

Me: Look, I've got no cash, and I already told you...
Dude, getting angry and swearing under his breath as he storms away: Well thanks for being CHEAP!

Alllllrighty then. Not really sure what to do with that. I mean, I DID get my car opened, and didn't have to wait for a tow truck, but Dude totally thrashed my car. I'd rather have waited an hour. And then I feel like a creep for not paying the guy, but I TOLD him, and he did it anyway.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

How I didn't ALERADY fail the NaBloPoMo challenge

Step one - start feeling a wee tad feverish and more than a wee tad achy at school, and really, really, really tired.

Step two - prepare for a sub for tomorrow JUST in case.

Step three - shiver and freeze and shiver and freeze and shiver and freeze some more all evening long.

Step four - get home and fall directly onto couch under the warmest blanket I have and shiver and freeze and ache some more.

Step five - wake up bleary eyed, certain it's the middle of the night, check email to see about a conference and realize that Oh Crapola, I didn't post, I failed NaBloPoMo already.

Step six - not really care.

Step seven - look at clock and realize it's 11:58pm. Ah HA! Still time!

Step eight - post this silly little list.

Step nine - march myself straight back to bed.

Step ten - goodnight.

Monday, November 02, 2009


So here's a few snippets of what I've been up to the last few weeks...


Went up Cypress with my friend Chris around Thanksgiving. 'Twas glorious to be out in the mountains, especially with all the fantastical fall colours. But good golly, I'm a big ball of wuss when it comes to hiking these days. Something about the no mountain and 45 degree heat situation in Korr that wasn't so great for keeping me in top hiking form. That was pretty much the easiest hike in the world and I was all Little Miss Jelly-Legs by the end of it. But it sure was purdy!

Hot tickets

Last Monday some friends offered me a ticket to go see U2. How could I say no?!? We went, and it was SPECTACULAR. A-MA-ZING. ZING, ZING, ZING! Got some great pics, too! Still in the process of culling out the (many, many, many) bad ones, but here's one that's not to shabby. It's fun, Bono and the Edge look like they're floating!


My costume was rather lame and predictable (woohoo... cowgirl! I had grand plans for a zebra, but that never panned out. I had no time, and frankly, just didn't care that much.) My friend Trudy's costume, on the other hand - FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC.


Fall beautiful-ness. I love it! It's been GORGEOUS this fall. The leaves seem particularly vibrant and colourful this year, the weather's been beautiful, and life in general has just been good. Sorry, no picture for that one. Picture a happy Hillary!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Feast or famine

It's been pretty scarce around here these days. I've missed a few weekends of Watch it Weekends, partly cause I'm busy, and partly cause I'm not sure anybody's actually watching. But I definitely need to get blogging again, mostly cause it's a great way to get my thoughts out. That and it's fun to write.

So what better way to switch from famine to feast than NaBloPoMo? Ah, yes. National Blog Posting Month. The challenge: post every day for the month of November. Why? Cause it's a good challenge, it's fun to read what others have to say, and cause good golly I still have so much to blog about it might get my butt in gear to finish some of those Kenya posts I really want to get written before I forget! So some might be long, some might be short, some that are deep and profound, most that are anything but... but posts there will be!

Happy November! NaBloPoMo, here we go!