Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sharing Time

Just after I was given the calling as Brogan's primary teacher they split the primary into Jr. and Sr. sharing time. Which makes sense. You really cannot teach kids 3-6 the same things you teach kids 7-11 on the same level. It also freed up a lot of class rooms, which was really needed as we were having to double up classes.
This also means that 4 times a year each teacher has to teach a Sharing Time lesson. I break into a cold sweat just thinking about it. Coming up with a lesson that 3-6 year olds will pay attention to, get something from and actually enjoy. Talking about random topics for 15 minutes. Bah!
Today was my first presentation. I think they may reconsider having the teachers do sharing time after my eloquent "lesson". It was well meant ... and all went down hill from there.
The first thing that went wrong was as I was putting one of the containers I needed for my lesson into the truck the bottom cracked. I needed to put WATER into this container. There went idea one. Second thing that happened is there was too much sand as compared to the size of the things they needed to find on their "hunt". I ended up fishing them all out and carefully placing them, then telling them what area to "dig" in. Third thing ... none of the kids had heard of ANY of the "heros" I was talking about so there was NO discussion. Just me talking. It was a dong show.
I seriously had to reapply deoderant after I was done ... I mean, I didn't because my actual class was next. But I sure could have used it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


never lasts long at my house. "Oh wow," you're thinking "they must eat a lot of candy around their place at Halloween and Valentines Day." On the contrary. My rule, because I despise candy wrappers even more than I hate having candy hang around, is that if I find even ONE wrapper on the floor/couch/table it ALL gets dumped in the garbage. Ms. R has yet to learn to be responsible with her garbage disposal after the painful lesson at Halloween; today the shoe box she had filled with Valentine candy went into the garbage. I was very impressed with her response, though. She didn't complain or throw a tantrum. She just very quietly looked at me, nodded her head when I reminded her of the rule and walked away. Once again, very quietly. You have to remember, she's five and very soft hearted. So I was kind of surprised by her reaction. That's what propelled me forward after a couple minutes to check on her. She was sitting in the front room, hugging one of her stuffed animals to her face and silently crying. I try so hard to be consistent. Firm but not hard. Be able to discipline and still be the one that they run to for loves. Fair but not a push over. Being a "single parent" you have to find the balance without getting burnt out. However, when I see her crying over an interaction we have shared it breaks my heart a little.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sweetheart Dance


I've branched out from making meals to hopefully making healthy snack foods with the Nu Wave. I currently I have a batch of apple chips drying away in there. I chopped up three varieties of apples :McIntosh, Granny Smith and Braeburn to see if there is any difference in how they dry, how they taste and if I want to do that particular species of apple again. My only problem with it is that I only have one rack so I can only do like half an apple at a time. It'd speed it up if I could just one more rack. Maybe I'll ebay that ...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pump It Up

Ms. R (and B-Man) were invited to their first birthday party of the school year today. The little girl chose to have it at a place that has those huge inflatable sliding/jumping/climbing structures called, "Pump It Up". The kids had A BLAST!

Tooth Fairy ...

Lately Ms. R has been obsessed with losing teeth, the tooth fairy, how to make your teeth lose, ect. I have tried to be the voice of reason and logic, explaining that everyone grows at a different rate and when it is the right time for her teeth to come out - they will. This is of course pointless. Why do I try to reason with her? I have no idea, honestly. However today ... Wapow! She went to school this morning with a mouth over crowded with teeth and this afternoon very happily sporting one less tooth. I was so excited when I noticed I literally pulled the truck over to the side of the road to do an inspection.
I asked her why she didn't tell me she had a loose tooth ; she said when she went to school this morning, it wasn't loose. "In music class it just went 'bloop' and feel out. But I caught it! Then I got to go to the school doctor (technically nurse ...) and she gave me this sticker!" Pointing very excitedly at her puffed up chest at the sticker proclaiming, "I lost a tooth!" So now I have to decide between giving her a gold Susan B Anthony dollar coin or a dollar store toy. I think it may be the coin, as we still have a birthday party to go to this evening.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Did you have a favorite subject in school? One you dreaded?
For sure. I was always really strong at English. You could write yourself out of pretty much anything. Teacher wanted a wild tale? No problem, make up something that never in a million years would happen. However, I was never really good at the particulars. Like, what are verbs, nouns, pronouns, ect? I have no idea.
I HATED Science from probably grade 7 on. There was a teacher at R.I. Baker - Mr. Cook who made this particular subject absolutely wretched. I enjoy science in practice - I love going to scientific museums, manipulating subject, learning how things work - but in school, I was a failure. In high school I took the lowest level of Science you could take. I think it was Science 14 and 24. Yeah, I was pathetically bad at it.

Tell about a fishing or hunting experience.
Fishing tales all "swim" around my grump. I do not think I have ever fished with anyone else. Ever. We'd go out on his little putter boat, laze the morning away, tell tall tales and occasionally catch a fish or two. Though I always hoped and prayed I didn't catch anything. I HATE most of the types of fish you'd find in the Creston area. The gutting and deboning ... bleech! Makes me want to yak just thinking about it.
Any "hunting" would have been done out on my grandma and grandpa Bowlby's ranch (I think they call it a farm ... I call it a ranch). They'd send out a passel of us kids with BB guns to shoot the gophers. Until that time, I had no idea gophers made any noise at all.

Did you have a favorite toy as a child? Did it have a name? What memories are connected with it?
I didn't have a favorite toy, I had a special blanket. It was soft and flannel on one side. Its name was "Woobie" like that kids blanket from "Mr. Mom”. It "mysteriously" disappeared, with my parents both saying I needed to take better care of my things. Years later I found out they thought I was at the age I should get over having a blanket and had stashed it in Michael's closet. I may still be bitter about that. I've tried to encourage my kids to have a special attachment to something, mostly out of defiance probably. However, the only thing they have shown any particular attachment to is me *sigh*.

What is your childbearing philosophy?
To each her own! I went both ways - not by choice. With Ms. R, pretty much as soon as I didn't want to bare the pain anymore I asked for an epidural and it was allllll good from there on in.
B-Man ... it was different. I'd asked for an epidural; however it got blocked up in the tubes so it wasn't working. They tried to numb "the area" with needles as I was preparing to push, but that just made it hurt all the more. Not impressed. When we got the bill from the anesthesiologist I sent back a curt letting explaining exactly why we would not be paying for THAT part of my hospital stay. We never heard from them again.

What is a favorite place to go with your husband and your children?
Jerry isn't around a whole lot. Never has been. Up until this last New Years the only place I have been positive I could count on his involvement in a family activity would be the Fourth of July over in Delta with his family. Then again, that wasn't really our family doing anything together - because he is always off with his brothers the entire time we are there. So even over there, it's me stuck with the kids.
However, this last New Year’s we went with most of his family over to Florida. When all of us were awake, Jerry spent all of his time with the kids and me. It was a great experience. So now, my favorite place to go as a family is Disney World ... mostly because that has been the only place we've gone and had dedicated "Jerry time".

Saturday, February 9, 2008

3rd Edge

Describe your mothers wedding dress. What do you know about her wedding?
My mom has been married twice, so I'll tell you what I know from both.
When she married my dad she was wearing (from what I can recall from pictures) a very lacy dress that her mother had made her. After the marriage ceremony, my mom found a pin my grandma had not noticed when she was finishing up the dress. I guess she had a habit of leaving at least one pin in her creations. A trademark, if you will. Her roses were yellow, even though she didn't like yellow. She would have prefered pink. I still don't get why she didn't go with what she wanted. Then again, a lot of things about my wedding and reception weren't as I wanted ... so I guess I don't have much room to say anything.

My dads younger twin sisters were the flower girls and some of his brothers were the grooms men.
It was held in my grandma and grandpa Jones' back yard in Grande Prairie, AB before they moved to Creston, BC.
Her second marriage to Rod Hutchinson was held in Kalispel, MT, so that I could come. I still wasn't legal to cross the boarder. So my siblings, their families, Rod's son and girlfriend, mother and sister and my aunt Norma all came down there. Yeah, it was a big deal to me that they were willing to go so out of the way so I could be involved. The wedding itself was held in a park, infront of a big tree. Dawn, Michael and I stood up for my mom and Tyler stood up for Rod during the ceremony. Afterward we went over to a community building, ate cake, drank ... something and watched the kids play on the playground. We then went to the Sizzler and ate. Ended up back at the hotel in the swimming pool. Fun time had by all. I think. At least I had a fun time.
Her dress was a pretty flowery thing ... I'll add a picture, I suck at descriptions.

Do you recall any outstanding family trips or summer holidays you experienced as a child?
The most remarkable vacation we went on as a family was to Florida when I was ... 12 (?) After talking to Michael and Dawn about it years later - it turns out I was the only one who had a lot of fun. I suppose 12 was on the cusp of the "Magical" age limit. We stayed at a condo (on exchange from out Fairmont timeshare) in the Kissimmee area. Odd things pop to mind when I think of that vacation. Watching a "Gold Bond" commercial for the first time, being fascinated by a sudden down pouring of rain, going to an outlet mall for the first time, collecting autographs from the characters for my best friend, being in a rental car for the first time, being on a commercial airplane for the first time, listening to Monty Python on the plane - with my whole family ... except my mom cracking up. She still doesn't know why we think it's funny. C'mon "I'm a lumberjack, yes I am ..."that's some great stuff!
We drove to all of our other vacation destinations (almost all of them to see grandparents in British Columbia). I recall so many moments from those trips. I guess that is why I have been somewhat resistant to the idea of flying to our summer holiday destinations, though it would be WAY faster - and sometimes cheaper. Memories are created, lives are changed, relationships are molded with the time we spend with our family. If you're in such a rush to get there, you may miss out on some of the best moments you can have.

Describe getting a Christmas tree with your family as a child: How did you decorate it? When did you put it up?

We never actually got a Christmas tree. For as long as I can remember, we just had the fake Christmas tree we put up every year. I can remember quite a way back, as in all the way back to the Christmas I was 3. Same tree. I do remember decorating it though. We were what I would consider now, tacky. We used that garish silver garland and that icicle stuff you took by the handful and tossed on the tree. Horrid. Just taking it off was a nightmare. However, we never really remembered to think of that until AFTER Christmas was over and had to painfully take it all off.
We had to wait until December 1st (a tradition my brother now painfully continues) to turn on Christmas music, put up decorations or set up the tree. To this day, I think that is a silly ordinance. I'll wait till after American Thanksgiving - but then it's no holds barred.

Tell the words of a song from your childhood. What memories does it bring to mind?
TAPS (I had no idea it was a Scout song and the song they play at military funerals till I just looked it up.)

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright,

From afar, dawning nigh, falls the night.

Thanks and praise, for our days,
'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, 'neath the sky;
As we go, this we know, God is nigh...

My mom used to sing this as one of her lullabyes. I'm not too sure she realized what an impression she was making, the memories she was creating. I love her for unknowingly doing so much that has influenced my life so completely.

Do you have a favorite magazine? Describe it and the kinds of things you learn from it or enjoy about it.
My favorite is a "rag" mag. I LOVE "US" magazine. I know, it's ridiculous. I just love the "nothingness" of it. I like the mindless chatter, the gossip about people that won't ever have anything to do with me. I take it to the gym with me and it helps speed up an hour on the treadmill.

Describe the perfect summer day. What would you do on that day?

I've spent plenty of days in what I consider the perfect way. There is a privately owned 30 acre park/1 acre spring fed lake about 1/2 hour from my house called Burger's Lake. I've gone there several times with my kids, a few times we've been able to bring my mom and various friends along with us. There are two sandy beaches, huge trees for shade, a concession stand, picnic tables, tubes for rent, diving boards, a slide, trapeze, grills ... It's fantastic. You pull up there in the morning and can spend the whole day playing in the water, in the sand, lazing under the trees, snacking on your picnic food. When we head home the kids ZONK OUT every time. I love it. That, to me, is summer perfection.

Where do you like to go eat out? What do you order?

My favorite place to go eat is Nagoya, down in Arlington. It has some of the best sushi I have ever eaten, actually, until I ate sushi there I wasn't too sure I liked the idea of it. My favorite thing to order there is the Shrimp Tempura roll. Tasty.
Or The Melting Pot up on Beltline in Addison. Come on, who doesn't love fondue? Alright, what woman doesn't love fondue?

Do you like rainstorms? Why? Why not? Do you have memories connected with rain?
I love rainstorms as long as they don't last more than a few days. If it stays overcast for longer than that, I get really depressed. However, I love Texas rainstorms with the thunder that shakes the windows and lightening that brightens the whole house. It's a wonder to behold.

Did you have a close relationship with any of your grandparents?

I'd have to say that I was the closest with my grandpa Jones. He was so cranky and funny. When I'd go to their place in the summer there was always a guarantee we'd spend too much time out out on the lake not catching any fish, arguing over how many coats of paint the deck needed, finding "great deals" at garage sales, discussing gardening (of which I am still not sure either of us knew anything about)... He'd pinch my cheeks cause he knew I hated it and I'd rub his close shaved head (something I think my dad needs to look into, it's very fun to mess with...)which I knew irritated him. Yep, I loved my grump.

What activities did you participate in during your school years?

I was involved in a lot of school sports till high school, then I felt like too much of an outcast to try out for school delegated sports and stuck to Lethbridge soccer leagues. In Jr. High I was on the student council - looking back, I'm not too sure what good we were, or if the whole process was just to teach us about voting, getting involved and popularity. In high school I was on the yearbook committee. I went around, got sponsorship from various businesses in town, took pictures, helped dictate the lay out, ect. Mr. Beukert (sp?) was an awesome adviser for that project, he was very free with what we were able to do with the yearbook and always willing to listen to new ideas.

Describe your first paying job. What was your salary? Your duties? What was your boss like?
My first paying job was a Chef's assistant at the Sandman Inn in Lethbridge. My cousin Kristopher, who
lived with us at that time and I both got hired on - my mom's youngest brother Jim was the head chef he figured more little hand involvement the better. As for salary ... I can't really recall. Though I do know at the time it seemed like a lot of money. Add to on to the fact that we always got a plate of what ever we'd cooked for the banquet/reception, it seemed like a good deal. Our duties included doing everything besides serving the food. We mixed, tossed, turned, added, cleaned, gutted, sloshed ... Our boss was fair. He's my uncle, what was he going to be mean? Come on. I think he was trying to make up for the fact that he'd completely broken my heart 6 years earlier by going to jail instead of coming to my birthday party ... or maybe that's just what I want to believe.

Are there any family heirlooms in your possession? Tell about them and how you came to acquire them.
My grandma Jones gave me a diamond heart necklace pendant my grandpa Jones had given to her on their wedding day 40 (?) year prior for my wedding present. I don't think it was because I am her favorite - but because I was his ;)
When my Uncle Howard's things were distributed I was given a choice of one of his knives... I don't know if it's quite a heirloom - but I still cherish it.
I have been dropping none too subtle hints that I'd like one of the wooden bowls my grandpa Jones made ... I think I need to just go ahead and pack one in my truck the next time I am in Canada.
No one seems to get that I WANT ONE!
Eventually, I hope to inherit the family Bible. It's old and thick and beautiful. I'm not too sure who it originated with, but I have always loved it.

Do you like to go to the theater? The opera? The symphony? Which do you like the best? Which production did you like the best and why?
I love to go to the theater.
I have never been to an opera, though I have watched Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserable on DVD (does that even count?) and loved them both.

I don't really enjoy the symphony. I found the one time I went I had to keep myself awake by hunting the musicians for someone good looking to entertain my brain with. lol ... I really did. I should be flogged.
I love theater productions. They, to me, are just so much fun.
The show I enjoyed the most was STOMP. It was so entertaining and beautiful and invigorating. Those people are so talented.

In general, I have a hard time going to theater productions where there is a lot of talking because I have a hard time understanding what people are saying if they are too far away and I can't see their mouthes moving. So I prefer musicals more, especially if I have already heard the sound track.

Describe a childhood birthday.
The first birthday I remember somewhat clearly was when we had moved down to Taber from Grande Prairie. For people who were use to snow 8 months of the year, it was quite a shock to have it nice enough for us to be running around outside in February in nothing but our frilly birthday dresses. We decorated cookies, played some games, opened presents and played outside. It was a novelty for us! I am pretty sure that was my fourth birthday.
After that, the next memorable birthday came when I was about 14 and we started packing up a passel of my friends and heading over to Westcastle or Fernie for a day of skiing. That was what we did for the next three years. It was an awesome way to spend my birthday.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I was so wishy washy. First I wanted to be a nurse. Then I realized I cannot handle the smell of blood, urine or vomit. And sick people? Not so much my idea of a good time.
Then I wanted to "just be a mom" - not so much because it seemed like a noble thing to do, but because it seemed the easiest option. Bah! Who was I kidding?
Lastly I wanted to be a legal assistant. Infact, Michael and I even had a plan stewed up. I was going to get my degree, get some years of experience then when he graduated, we'd go into business together. Ha. He followed through on becoming a lawyer. Me ... not so much. Doesn't meant I still can't do that, I suppose. Just not work with Michael. The whole living in two different countries may make that difficult.

Tell something about each of your children, their personalities, talents, traits that make them different and special.
Wow. That is so loaded.
Ms. R ...
She is sweet, eager to please, soft hearted, has a quick temper - quick to flare up just as quickly dies out.
Her special talent, at 5, is being aware of others. Because she spent two years in a program for children with disabilities and a brother with Autism she has a keen sense of fairness. Of being open to others who are different, not being afraid of those who are not "as kids should be".
To me, this makes her very different and infinitely special. Being able to see past what the exterior and the world shout they are ... she sees their inner spirits and loves them for it.
B-Man ...
He is funny, cuddly, outgoing, easy going, hard to handle, easy to love.
His special talent, at 4, is opening eyes and hearts to differences that can make someone who "looks" normal so much different. He is learning beyond his years, even with his inability to communicate locked up. He can figure things out faster than most adults can think of the true problem. He studies and watches and imitates to an uncanny degree.
He's special not only because of his challenges but because of how he's dealing with them, overcoming his limitations and breaking all expectations.
He may not communicate in words what he wants as much as the average boy, however, I say he's just becoming a man early ... hahahaa.


I've heard and read about a eyebrow shaping method called Threading for a few years now. The other day when I was walking through Grapevine Mills Mall I saw a kiosk set up with two ladies doing it. It looked like the ladies getting their eyebrows shaped were rather enjoying the experience. So when I got an email from a salon I get massages/pedicures/manicures from asking for people that would be willing to be "models" for a new lady they have on staff (read "she's never been paid to do this before ... want to be a guinea pig for a reduced rate?") I was like, Oh, sure! Sign me up. I paid $10 for the threading when generally the services runs at least $45. Sounds like a GREAT deal, eh?
I have NO IDEA why people do this time and time again. It feels like 100's of tiny razor blades slicing into your brow. If I hadn't had my finger tips up there, helping keep various areas tight, I'd have wondered if I was bleeding. Seriously. She asked me if it was better or worse than waxing (which I usually do) and I had to be honest and tell her it was worse. At least with waxing at the most there is four rips and it's over. With threading, they go over the areas time and time again, getting "the look" just right. Yeah, the arch is nice. Yeah, I like the outcome. But certainly NOT anymore than I do with a eyebrow wax. Yeow. At least the redness that always accompanies the hair getting torn from my face subsided faster than when I get it waxed off.