Monday, December 31, 2012


2012 was quite a year.  Filled with wonderful joyous things, and of some not so wonderful.  I'm going to hang onto wonderful and let the crappy stuff go.  I am not going to give the negative rent-free space in my head anymore.  Done.

I have been enjoying a fabulous, restful holiday.  Low-key is the best descriptor.  And as I lay around like a total sloth in yoga pants and my new Bazinga! sweatshirt (thank you Tyler), after many nights of 12 hours of sleep and blissful naps during the day, often while having a bath infused with epsom salts & lavendar essential oils, I have come to an important realization.  I know absolutely nothing about living a balanced life.  I have allowed my life to be a swirling vortex of stress and lack of sleep and enough exercise, cortisol levels through the roof and an autoimmune disease running out of control.  My weight has been creeping up, I'm wound so tight that I could snap like a fiddle string and frankly, I feel like absolute crap all of the time.

Rather hypocritical for someone who writes a blog entitled "fitmom".  Fitmom my ass.  More like "mom falling apart at the seams, with a great career and likely to have a stroke from unmanaged stress".  So.....I am making only one resolution.  To find balance.  I need to balance home and work, rest and work, exercise and sloth.  Spending time in nature, along with time with my family.  My dog needs to be walked.  My children need to be parented.  My husband needs a wife, not just another wage earner.  Friendships need to be nurtured.  I need to keep all of these things in mind as I embark on another year.

Sound good?  With that balance in mind I have decided to commit to a half-hour of exercise in the morning before I get ready for school.  It could be on the treadmill,, weights or yoga, but it will be some kind of activity.  Ten minutes of meditation at some point during the day too--likely in the evening before bed.  Forty minutes out of 24 hours.  Totally doable right?  And then dogwalking whenever possible.

I read yet another "diet" book.  Paleo Solution (I think?....Paleo something) by Robb Wolfe.  Made total sense to me.  Eliminate grains and other crap carbs.  Exactly what I should be doing for my old friend Hashi anyway.  Making all the more sense since I've been eating whatever I feel like over the holidays, and consequently feeling like crappola.  Hubs wants to lose weight too, and has agreed to give it a try.  If I can stringently remain gluten and dairy free, then eliminating other grains/crap carbs shouldn't be too hard, especially if my hubs is on board too.  Which should bring my body into balance.

Not that there haven't been good things going on in the health department, but they could be better with a little more concerted effort by moi.  Sounds like a balanced plan, does it not? Exercise and clean up diet, spend time with loved ones, live a more even life.

Whatever you have resolved for 2013, I wish you a very Happy New Year's.  And a balanced existence.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

anniversaries, holidays and other wonderful things

Sooooo very happy the Mayans were wrong!  But I knew they were, because my spiritual beliefs involve and book that said so.  But....enough about that.

The winter solstice also happens to be mine and hubs wedding anniversary.  21 on 21 this year.  We celebrated by spending the weekend in downtown Toronto, at our favourite hotel, wandering the downtown area (people watching....good grief, some people are, ahem *interesting*).  It was wonderful.  Much needed down time, with my favourite man.  While in T.O. we met up with my good friend Julie and her husband for a drink.  Julie et al are in Ontario to celebrate Christmas with their adult kids.  It was FABULOUS to see one of my all time favourite peeps!

Have I mentioned that thus far I am thoroughly enjoying the beginning of my two weeks off of work?  I slept for NINE straight hours.  Nothing short of miraculous, let me tell you.  I feel like a new woman!  And I'm looking forward to many more nights of glorious, deep sleep, enhanced by spending time with my loved ones.  My oldest child made gluten-free cookies for me when we were away, a delicious treat indeed.  Made sweeter by the love that went into making them.

This post is getting gooier and mushier by the minute (perhaps the Bailey's coffee I just drank?).  I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.  Enjoy your families and friends.  Relax and let it happen, don't stress and worry about it being perfect.  It won't be perfect, but it will be, and will be all the better for it with all of its imperfections.  Honest it will.

Love always. xxoo 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


“Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” (NIV)
Luke 3:11

This is the Bible verse that was delivered to my inbox today.  A timely verse, in this time of Christmas giving....and the Christmas "gimmes".  I'm reminded daily of the need to give freely of what I possess, and have shared my own lunch with a hungry student on more than one occasion.  And it feels good to do it, it fills me up.  I don't do it because I need anyone to know, or any accolades, but because giving feels much better than receiving.  

While zooming through Walmart last night, picking up a few odds and ends before my appointment with Dr. Pain (formerly known as Dr. Hotty. He's been rechristened.), I was struck by the number of crying children, children demanding toys, temper tantrums and the like.  It made me wonder--what happened to the season of giving.  We've done our children a disservice by forgetting to teach them about giving.

In a society of selfishness, it's a lesson from which we could all benefit, don't you think?  I worry about a generation of children who don't know the joy of giving freely.  Of sharing what we have.  It's a tenet of all the major religions, of yoga, of most belief systems.  So how have we missed the mark?

I will carry this in my heart today.  And for the rest of the season.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Yesterday Last week was incredibly draining.  With the fervor and excitement of the upcoming holidays, comes the stress and difficult times families in crisis or some level of dysfunction face.  It's draining.  I'm not complaining, just stating fact.  Strain is showing, and everyone is beginning to fray around the edges.  That's the kind of week it was.  Frayed around the edges.

So much so, that upon my return to my house, I collapsed into my favourite chair in my pyjamas and favourite sweatshirt, and enjoyed some Mike's....and Bailey's.  I'm not really much of a drinker, and generally think that drinking because you're stressed is NOT a good idea.  And with my addictive personality.....I shudder to think if I imbibed regularly. But last night I needed to unwind, and yoga just wasn't in the cards.

However, it would be irresponsible to have Bailey's in my coffee at 7 a.m., so I've done the next best thing for stress relief (that doesn't involve yoga, kickboxing or prayer).  I have done the responsible thing and stolen Toblerone from the bag of stocking stuff for my children.  Huge chunks of Swiss chocolate with my coffee makes a breakfast of champions, don't you think?  Theft from children is wrong.  But my children are actually either 1) an adult and really too old for Santa; or 2) much larger than I, and consequently too big for Santa. And I have sufficient time to replace the stolen chocolate before Santa actually needs it for stockings.

While my personal stress levels are high (I can hear my heart beating and my cheeks are perpetually flushed--not a good sign), I can only imagine the level of stress and heartbreak in Connecticut.  I am climbing some big hills of my own, but the mountain that community has to climb today is almost insurmountable.  In essence, while I complain of my own troubles, I am all too aware that they are minor.  My children are all safe and sound, and so are the children of my school.  Thank God.  And I pray for those families and that community.  I cannot imagine.

On the flip side of my miserableness and complaints, I recognize that I am incredibly lucky.  I have a fantastic husband who takes very good care of me, great kids, and I also have the pleasure of working with amazing people and children.  I get to spend time every day with children from 4 to 14, who share their successes and troubles with me, and the adults who guide them and teach them.  Nothing is better than the huge grin from a student, the kind words of a parent (who just popped in to say hi) and gracious emails from colleagues.  I am lucky.

Lucky enough to have a dog that is glued to my side when I'm feeling stressed, and a cat who takes it upon himself to use the Christmas tree jungle gym to perform acrobatic feats for my entertainment, before curling up on my feet to sleep for the night.  And Marian Keyes latest book to read.  And an appointment for a manicure this morning.  Really, all in all, life is good.

Sadly for Allistair Cookie, the acrobatic/interior design maven cat, I am removing the ivy from the top of the wall unit, leaving him with nothing to regularly throw on the floor.  And replacing it with some manner of Christmas something.  Something he can't throw down to the floor.  Post-manicure I am going to do some Christmas baking, and perhaps work on the picture frame that I want to turn into a chalkboard (it's finally home....and been sitting in the kitchen for over a week).  Life is good.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Elf on the Shelf vs Peek-a-boo

Photo: Anyone else doing Elf on the Shelf? We started this year. Pro: about a 50% reduction in fighting between siblings because I can say "Hey you two better stop or Fred The Elf is going to tell Santa!" Con: I have to remember to move the damn elf every night.

I can't lie, I find Elf on the Shelf creepy as heck.  I can only imagine the therapy that will be needed by the children subjected to this particular Christmas trend.  In fact it reminds me of the creepiest Christmas tradition my family observed...

When I was a little girl, my Grandma told me about Santa's elf, Peek-a-boo.  Peek-a-boo was a magical elf that watched little boys and girls, and reported their behaviour back to Santa.  Lovely story to tell a child with a wildly vivid imagination.  Really.  At the ripe old age of 3, I was convinced that Santa's elf was watching me through my bedroom window.  One night just before my grandparents who were visiting got ready to leave, I was sent to my room to get into my jammies.  It was about this time of year, and the threat of Santa not coming was being held over my head...for every little transgression (although I must admit my mother never "phoned" Santa....I did several times when my children were had the desired effect).   My grandma, ever helpful, retold the story of Peek-a-boo that evening.  As I readied my 3 year old self for bed, I saw him looking in my bedroom window.  My bedroom in rural Ontario, no neighbours, pitch black outside, absolutely no way ANYONE was looking in the window.

That was 40 years ago.  I still have the image of that little b*st*rd looking in my window, engraved on my brain.  He was wearing a white outfit with coloured polka dots, and had a blue pompom on his hat.  I remember the shriek of terror that I emitted, and my little heart pounding as I ran screeching back to the livingroom, and leaping into my dad's arms.  My dad swears he thought Jack the Ripper was in my room from my behaviour.  I was wearing apple green pjs with pink cherries on them (it was the '70s after all...).  The worst part of all?  They laughed at me.  My grandpa laughed until tears rolled down his cheeks.  My father still laughs so hard he can barely tell the story.  Which is repeated at least once a Christmas season.

The moral of the story?  Be careful with that freaking Elf on the Shelf.  40 years from now your darling child might be reliving the horror.  And considering help from a mental health professional to overcome the trauma.  You've only yourself to blame if you're asked to put money into the shrink pot to help defray the costs of extensive therapy.

I wonder what Jung would say about Peek-a-boo vs Elf on the Shelf?  I say avoid them both.  Creepy little b*st*rds.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

didn't get the tree up....

I didn't get the tree up yesterday.  I went Christmas shopping/birthday dating with my hubs.  And pretty much finished Christmas shopping and bought a new nutcracker.  In just red and white.  On the agenda for today?  Get that darned tree up, wrap presents and decorate.  All while listening to Christmas music.  It's my birthday and I'll do what I want, darn it!  I foresee an exodus of children as the Christmas tunes start.  Just as well, they hate decorating the tree anyway.

Darn seems to be the word of the day.  Hopefully that's as strong and the language gets today.  Prelit tree generally helps with that :)

Now I'm off to pinterest all the Christmas stuff I can find.  Wishing my "twin" brother-in-law a happy birthday, and hoping his and my sister's new baby makes it here today.  I'd like a new baby as a birthday gift.  Since I haven't heard anything, and they were headed to the Santa Claus parade yesterday, I'm guessing that's a birthday wish I may not get.  Pinterest it is.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's here, it's finally here!

I made it.  That dastardly month November is past.  It's December 1st!  YIPPEEEEEEEE!!!!  Let me tell you, November nearly killed me.  I am done with 70's porn star moustaches (on hubs, not on me!), dreary grey, Remembrance Day (yes I'm grateful, no I don't like thinking about it), children sobbing their little hearts out to me in my office (that one will continue, it's not really over, but I am hoping the excitement of Christmas will help it to abate....slightly), progress reports, Thanksgiving being past but not being able to really decorate for Christmas yet.  DONE!

We are getting closer to Christmas, and everyone knows that December is the best month of the year.  I'm a lucky lady--birthday, wedding anniversary and Christmas all in one month.  Delightful.  On the schedule for today--tree.  Yep, Christmas tree goes up today.  I capitulated and bought a pre-lit artificial one a couple years ago (and my pine allergies have thanked me profusely--no weird rash for an entire month every year anymore).  We didn't put it up last year, because we were going away and I was fully aware that without direct supervision on a daily basis Allistair Cookie would totally destroy it.  But, it's time.  Too bad my big, strong men are all still sleeping, or I'd be working on it now.  Somehow I don't think waking them to drag it upstairs for me is a good idea.  I'll wait.....a little while longer.

Along with the tree, they will bring up my giant-ass rubbermaid containers of Christmas ornaments and stuff. My life-sized nutcracker has been a lone sentry, because I haven't unearthed the brethren yet.  They are in the rubbermaid bins.  And those suckers require 2 strong men to carry them upstairs.  Although with the adrenaline of December, I could possibly develop superhuman strength and be able to lift them--you know, like those moms who lift cars off of their child.  But I'd likely hurt my back, adrenaline or no, so I guess I'll wait on those too.

Unfortunately I forgot my very cool picture frame the custodian at school found and was going to chuck, and I like a good hoarder rescued, it is still propped against the wall in my office.  I have a vision in my head for it, I will buy the supplies today.  Hubs thinks we're popping into Home Depot briefly for one thing.....hahahaha, silly hubs.  Craft supplies and Christmas stuff is also on the list.  I'll work on the actual frame this week.

Is it creepy to want one of those giant Santa framed pictures to hang on the wall too?  I kick myself for not buying one of those a few years ago when they could be found in Homesense.  You know, back when I was demonstrating some Christmas restraint.  Christmas on a cruiseship last year cured me of that nonsense.  I have the perfect spot for one of those.

Btw--did anyone notice that pinterest has a whole new holidays section deal going on???  I was too tired the other night, but I'm spending some time checking that out this weekend.  It's like porn for Christmas fanatics. Not a creepy moustache in sight.

Also with December comes the desire to start Christmas baking.  I will have to hide the supplies though, some giant 14 year old boy ate my whole pkg of Skor bits.  I know this from the other night when I was looking for them to eat because I had a craving, lol.  Can't get too mad, that sweet tooth is definitely an inherited trait.  Kind of like his bluey-green eyes with the amber around the pupil.  Likely on the same gene.

The one time of year that I demonstrate zero self-control or practicality is here.  It makes me like a child, filled with excitement and glee.  The nervous anticipation.....if I'm this excited on December 1st, can you imagine what I'll be like by Christmas Eve?  My poor family.

I went to my naturopath yesterday morning, feeling completely depleted.  So depleted and stressed out she had a b*tch of a time to find a good vein for my iv.  I think it's safe to say the iv goodness has kicked in.  That and a good night's sleep, coupled with Christmas fever does wonders.

Have a wonderful December 1st friends, the best month of the year is here.

Friday, November 23, 2012


The best day of November is almost here....tomorrow is my youngest son's birthday.  And if you recall from a couple of really whiny posts, I don't like November.  Except for this day.  And it's tomorrow!  Which means my birthday is just around the corner.  I don't really care about my birthday anymore (that stopped being exciting about 15 years ago!), but it means that the Advent season is beginning, because CHRISTMAS is coming!

Maybe it's because we were away last year and didn't even put up our tree, maybe it's because I just crazy about Christmas, but can't wait to put up the tree and decorate the whole house.  I usually go pretty low-key with the decorating.  Not this year.  I want the outside of the house to look like the Griswold's and the inside to look like Santa lives here.  The huge nutcracker is sitting in the front entrance, just waiting for his nutcracking brethren to join him.  The twinkly tree that was my grandmother's is sitting in the box, begging to be put on display.  Already purchased gifts hidden away and waiting to be wrapped.  Cookies to bake.....I'm sure you're getting the picture.  I'm as excited as a small child.

I have a feeling Christmas will be an extravaganza this year.  Starting tomorrow.  Because the triple family birthday party is on Sunday, which means housecleaning and decorating tomorrow.  I feel the need to share my incredible excited-ness and glee about Christmas with my nephews (you know, whip them into a frenzy, send them home ridiculously overstimulated and talking about Christmas.  My siblings can thank me later).  I think there just may be a Christmas craft at the family party.  I might even break out sparkles.  You know, since I won't be crafting with my class this year.  Although I might borrow a class for a craft.  We'll see.

Cue the Christmas music....I usually wait until December.  But this year, I think we're close enough.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My favourite thing about Neil Young....

I've been reading Neil Young's new autobiography "Waging Heavy Peace".  I love Neil.  Totally.  He's such a quirky old dude!  The best thing about Neil, aside from his amazing songwriting skills and music that touches my soul?  The way he speaks about his wife and kids.  He LOVES his family.  The respect and love in the way he writes about his wife Pegi warms my heart.  The complete and utter devotion to his seriously challenged son Ben is inspiring, and brings tears to my eyes.  The pride in his oldest son Zeke, also special needs--fantastic.  The way he writes of his daughter Amber is the way fathers of all daughters should write about their little girl.  Some day when we're old(er), I hope my hubs speaks of me the same way.  I highly recommend his book.

Waging Heavy Peace

    I love his book.  I love his music.  I love the way he writes of his family.  If you do read the book, be forewarned--it's a little random, just like Neil.  It's not linear or necessarily sequential. All from the boy from Omemmee, Ontario.  I'd love to meet him and talk with him.  I think it would be a very interesting conversation!

Check out this song from his new album, "Psychedelic Pill".  I too was born in Ontario.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ok November, enough already

Remember my last post?  All whiny and all?  I was right.  November is blech.  This is why:
1.  A former colleague's husband was hit by a car and literally had to fight for his life.  They have 5 year old twin girls and now they are here in ON while their mommy has gone to Michigan to be with their daddy.  It sounds as if he's going to be ok, but it was very scary for the family.  And he's no where near ready to be sent home.
2.  An acquaintance whose son is very good friends with my son was in a car accident and was airlifted to a Toronto hospital.  Again, she will be ok, but has a long road of recovery ahead, including alot of physiotherapy for her leg, hip and arm.
3.  My beloved Chase got into something toxic and was really sick.  I was at work, but luckily hubs and son figured it out and got her to the vet.  Where she stayed overnight, had IVs, liquid charcoal, etc.  She's ok, but it was traumatizing for us.  And her.  It was her very first overnight away from home without us that wasn't at Grandma and Grandpa's.  She's 9.  And a little spoiled and coddled.
4.  My daughter and her boyfriend went to his uncle's funeral yesterday.  The same weekend as the first anniversary of his sister's death.  Very difficult time for his mom especially.  And his sister's husband and daughter.
5.  In the past few weeks, I can count on one hand the number of days that have been sunny.  Really, that's making it not so nice.  A little sunshine goes a long way.

Most of the things that have happened this month so far are all about other people.  I recognize that it's not about me.  But I care about people.  I want everyone to be happy and not have pain in their lives.  It stresses me out thinking that people are experiencing trials.  I need to get over this, clearly.

Very positive thing though--my sis will have her baby soon.  Maybe by the end of November.  That would make November a much nicer month.  Two birthdays to celebrate would be fantastic!

In  my spare time I've been pinning Christmas ideas.  We were on a cruise last year and didn't decorate, not even a tree.  I CANNOT wait this year!  I love Christmas (obviously, who else would get married at Christmas time--only Christmas fanatics!).  I am itching to start decorating.  But it's a little soon.  I am going to go Christmas shopping today.  With my wonderful hubs (saver of dogs....he's a keeper!).  I'm itching to do some crafting too.  I used to craft alot, you know, when I was a stay at home mom mostly.  It's been a long while.  Perhaps I should finish a very special knitting project first though, I might need it's very tiny and soft, for a very special little person whom I haven't met yet.

I'm even getting the urge to sew.  Nothing too complicated (obviously!), but I do have some Christmas fabric waiting to be made into something....

Here's some of my favourite Christmas pins:
Christmas decorating ideas for the home

lighted wreath snowman..O holy night. I love this!!!  I think I will need to find or make on for next Christmas!!

hot chocolate + bailey's! Cute diy gift!!

I can't wait!!!!  I'm going to go do some more pinning, I need to find some Nutcracker pictures.....

Have a blessed day.  May the worst of November be past for all.


Sunday, November 4, 2012


The only really, truly good thing about November is my youngest son.  He was born on November 24th.  The rest of the month is just....blech.  It's grey, cold, snow/mud/leaves we didn't rake/mess in the yard, raw, did I mention blech?  It's a sad month in Canada.  No real purpose except the long prelude to December.  The BEST month of the year.  Well, December and July.  But I digress....December rocks.

Maybe it's just because I can't seem to get warm today.  Maybe it's the snow.  Maybe I'm just very tired because I spend night worrying about saving the world, and changing the clocks always throws me for a loop.  But I'm not loving November.  I'm focusing on December.  Looking forward to Christmas.  My birthday and our wedding anniversary is in December.  It's a happy month.  It starts on November 24th, and doesn't end until January 1st.  Another fantastic thing this December?  I'm going to be an aunt again.  I'm rooting for December 2nd.  Three birthdays on one day would just be sooooo cool!

I think having a woodstove on a day like today would be a good thing.  Wood heat is the only kind of heat that gets rid of the chill like the one I have today.  Or maybe a Bailey's hot chocolate with one of the very cute marshmallow/candycane decoration thingys I pinned on pinterest.  You know, the one I'm too lazy to grab to stick on here.


The wheel has turned.  Time to put on a happy face and pretend I enjoy it.  It's the only thing that will get me through to December.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

bullying....what to do?

As many are aware, a Canadian girl recently committed suicide because of bullying.  While social media is in many ways a positive thing, it also has the potential to perpetuate bullying.  Online/digital bullying has become a huge issue.  But it makes us complacent about the old-fashioned kind of bullying that's always been around.

Physical intimidation.  Exclusion.  Name calling.  Bigotry.  Rumour starting.  Rumour repeating.  Groups of people using their power to hurt others--emotionally or physically.  One person having power over a social group.  "boys will be boys" altercations.  Teasing.  The list goes on.

Bullying is a social issue, and we as a society need to work to end it.  People need to take responsibility for their own behaviour and actions.  Period.  Whether child or adult, everyone bears responsibility for the way in which they treat others.

Ant-bullying Week in Ontario is this month.  In many ways, I understand that by giving bullying its own week, it brings attention to a systemic societal problem.  I also think that it minimizes the severity of the problem--it deserves our attention, not just one week a month.

I question what kind of adult intervention will truly make a difference.  It's clear to me, that what we are doing isn't working.  Obviously.  And what is the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing and expecting different results.  Aren't we engaging in insanity with the way we deal with bullying?

What is the answer?  I don't know.  I do know that the adults need to help the kids to take responsibility.  Pull our heads out of the sand.  It's happening.  Our children are sometimes guilty of it.  WE are sometimes guilty of it.  I can think of a number of adults who in some way or another abuse their power or social position.  Are our kids just mimicking what they've seen?

If you know of any really good articles/books/websites that would be helpful, let me know.  I want to be a part of the solution.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

blogging is a funny thing

Blogging is a funny thing.  My blog has evolved and isn't at all what it started out to be.  And I'm ok with that.  As it turns out, I need something completely different than what I thought I needed.  But I'm not going to change the name.  I am too lazy.

Through my blog I've made friends with people, people with whom I would have never otherwise connected.      People who share similar interests to me, very diverse interests.  I read the blogs of others, and am inspired and touched.  And amused.  I love when I get an email from someone who found me/my blog because of a comment I've left on someone's blog.  I love that there are people in this world that get me.  And all of my quirkiness.

The big thing about blogging is that it completely emphasizes what a small world we really live in.  And that there are kindred spirits out there.  The world is really like a village.  A huge village in which we take care of each other.  I love that.  And I love that somehow we ended up connected to each other.

For my peeps who follow/read my blog regularly, part deux of the man in underwear story.....this week I had  students come to me upset that a football had been kicked "accidentally" over the fence into a neighbouring yard.  I'm sure my face was priceless.  My office staff immediately started giggling.  I bravely went to see what yard the ball was in, and to retrieve said ball.  Fate decided to smile kindly on me that day--it was a different yard.  No second man in underwear experience.  Luck!  Of course, this time one of the students involved was a boy from grade 8 who is at least six foot three.  I took him with me this time.  I have learned a lesson.  Always take a witness.  Preferably a really big one.  Of course news travels fast.  Before I had a chance to even get back to my office, the custodian (very nice man) offered to go the next time, especially if it was underwear man's yard.  He was laughing so hard I thought he might cough up a lung when he said it.  I'm glad I have so much authority with my staff.  *insert head shaking*  I love my job.  And the people that I am lucky enough to work with--even if they laugh at me :)

In sadder news, my yoga teacher is moving back to Toronto.  I was really looking forward to regular practice with her.  My hip is finally better!  Several pain-free weeks!  I have to find another good fit.  While I'm thrilled and excited for Sarah and this new chapter in her life, I'm disappointed for me.  I guess I'll try Buddha Rider in Collingwood, but I'd like to find something a little closer to home.  There are a few studios, I'm thinking it might look like several different studios, with several different kinds of practice.  What I really need is a group of like minded people who will practice with me on a flexible kind of basis.  Who's in?

It's a cold, wet fall day here in Ontario.  Following an extremely dry summer, my sensible side is telling me it's great that we've had so much wet weather that I'm growing webbing between my toes, and sprouting gills.  The other side is craving sunshine.  CRAVING!  And I don't mean on a school day so I can't get out and enjoy it.  *sigh*  I'm feeling a little like the Cargillwitch's hens.  Not enough light, and a serious egg shortage.  Of course the egg shortage is just perimenopause.

On that note, have a fantastic fall day.  A good day to catch up on my paperwork.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A day in the life....

Just in case you thought my job as an elementary school vice-principal was all glamour, let me give you a little update in some of the things I've done over the past few weeks (keep in mind that I have a couple university degrees...):

  • upon entering the kindergarten classroom, in which a music teacher was covering the kindergarten teacher saint, instead of delivering the message, helped several 3 & 4 year olds change their pants after a series of potty accidents.  Luckily only pee was involved.  Kindergarten teachers are to be revered.
  • when faced with a very upset child, because his beloved stuffy "accidentally" ended up on the other side of the fence, in a neighbouring yard, walked around the block to the house, knocked on the door, only to be greeted by a rather rotund, shirtless late-middle aged man, wearing what appeared at first glance to be underwear.  Rather flustered, determined he was actually wearing short shorts (quite a feat, with a very red face and unable to look directly at him....mortifying.  He could care less.).  Asked to retrieve toy from back yard, and picked way through backyard sure I would step in dog poop.  At least it's only a jack russell, not a great dane.  However, retrieved toy and remained poop free on my shoes.  Next time the toy is the dog's.
  • held tissues to countless bloody noses, blue latex-free gloves go well with whatever outfit I happen to be sporting that day.
  • spent 2 & 1/2 hours at a parent/school meeting, which started at 6:30 pm.  After being at school from 7:45 am.  Good times.  Had difficulty not yawning from exhaustion.  Does not inspire community confidence when the v-p is having trouble staying awake.
  • spent today in a mentoring meeting, learning about dealing with human resources issues.  And how I could be named in a grievance.  Or lawsuit.  And how to deal with labour conflict.  Named in a lawsuit.  Doesn't that sound like fun.  Note to self....memorize the Education Act and the scads of board policies, as well as the collective agreements of the 4 employee groups in the building.  I don't think I will need my GABA to help me sleep.
So you see, while you are all envisioning a nice office, great pay and benefits, I'm cleaning up pee.  And rescuing toys from jack russells.  

It's a glamorous life I lead......  Hope my stories of my exciting job make you chuckle.  I wouldn't change jobs for all of the money in the world.  For real.  Pee and all.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

tough dog update

If you read my last post, you'll know of what I speak (write?).  In the tough dog debate, youngest son votes tiger.  'Cause tigers are totally badass.  And who would mess with a tiger?  The debate about a hypothetical dog choice at some point in the future rages on.  Apparently my bright child has missed the point--tigers are feline, not canine.  No doubt jackals and hyenas are on his desirable pet list too.

How exactly does one train a tiger?  I'll have to ask Mike Tyson.  Or Alan.
Really?  Who wouldn't want a tiger?  Dogs are so passe!

The best scene of the whole movie!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

my coffeemaker is broken....and I am an addict and other tales

Remember a while ago when I swore off coffee?  Well, I couldn't give it up.  I did cut down considerably.  But over time, I've worked my way back up to drinking a far amount of coffee.  Coffee with almond milk.  Or for a really big treat, sweetened vanilla almond milk (I know, crazy right?!).  This week disaster struck.  My coffeemaker died.  I thought I could tough it through a day or two without coffee.  WRONG!  I had a headache.  I felt like crap.  I had to get a coffee from the new Tim's around the corner to get rid of the headache.  I was an addict craving a fix.  Suffering withdrawal.  I have decided that I do need to get the caffeine monkey off my back, but reporting time at school is not the best time to tackle it.  Stressed out teachers and a snappy, grumpy administrator is a bad mix.  But my addiction to coffee is a testament to my addictive personality and chemistry.  I could imagine if I ever tried a drug like meth.  I'm an Intervention Canada episode waiting to happen.  I am incredibly grateful that my most serious addiction is caffeine.  So many poor souls are addicted to so many other drugs (caffeine is a drug, I admit it).  Coffee and word games.  If I'm going to be an addict, those are fairly harmless, I must say.

In better news, my daughter came home from uni and stated that I've lost weight.  Enough that you can tell.  Which is fantastic, because it means that my thyroid is improving!  I have been a little more careful with what I'm eating (I did eliminate sugar and simple carbs for a week).  Eliminating sugar and simple carbs makes me just feel so much better.  But I digress....  Chelation is not the most fun I've ever had, but I do like that it's working, the mercury and lead are being drawn out of my body and consequently my thyroid antibodies are improving.  3 more rounds of chelation and hopefully I'll be done.  And have a thyroid that is able to properly do its job.  Which means that my body will work better.  Great news.  Autoimmune dysfunctions are a pain (bitch really).  I will continue with the carb elimination deal too.  The other autoimmune dysfunction  I've seen some evidence of is insulin resistance (all related to the damned thyroid), coupled with some estrogen/progesterone imbalances.  Which are all improved by a simple carb-free diet as well.  Don't panic, I still eat a variety of complex carbs from other sources.  I'm NOT doing Atkins or some such other craziness.

If you too think you have some carb/hormone issues, I recommend the book The Carb Sensitivity Program by Dr. Natasha Turner.  Same ND that wrote The Hormone Diet, which I also recommend.  I'll let you know how it works in the long term.  I feel better already, so I'm thinking good things :)

In other news, lots of discussion around here about what life will be like in a few years when the youngest has gone away to school (or other endeavors).  Hubs isn't comfortable with me being completely alone for weeks at a time when he's on afternoons (I think maybe we watch too much Criminal Minds).  The solution?!  A Rotweiler.  Yep, "Mr. I'm not a pet kind of guy" wants to get a big, scary dog to protect me when he and the boys aren't here.  He wants to name it Fluffy, because he's a rabid Harry Potter fan.  I'm both touched and amused.  My Chase the Wonderdog lab/border collie cross just isn't tough enough to scare potential intruders away.  Not to mention that by the time we are looking at, she will be a very old doggy girl.     He's afraid if I get a big lab that I'll turn it into a huge suck and it won't be protective.  I'm not convinced that I won't turn a big scary dog into a suck too.  But apparently rottie says, "I mean business" and lab says, "hey, where's the fun?". The hitch with this plan?  I'm used to an eerie smart dog that understands what I say and desires to please me.  I'm uneasy with trying to train a dog that could be dangerous if not trained properly.  The debate rages on.  I'll keep you updated.  Of course, as middle child pointed out, it would be cheaper to have an alarm system installed.  Always the logical one.

On the agenda for the day?  Basement cleaning (hubs and youngest kiddo), basketball in O'ville and probably some work on my big project so that I can get my final principal's qualifications.  Strangely, I need to have something to hand in, not just all in my head.  Which means, I need to get started on recording some of it and not waiting until the last minute.  Of course, in order to do that I need to analyze student achievement first.  Jealous?  Your life could also be this exciting!

This is really the only rationale I need for doing work on improving math instruction:
How I see math word problems: If you have 4 pencils and I have 7 apples, how many pancakes will fit on the roof? Purple, because aliens don't wear hats.

But somehow, I think my project needs to include more than that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


My husband is on afternoons.  It's the second week.  And quite frankly, it sucks.  While I'm not crazy about the first week, it's not too bad, spending evenings doing my own thing (while the boys often do their own thing in another room).  There's only so many hours one can while away on pinterest, facebook and other people's blogs.  I catch up on schoolwork first, then read, and then spend time on the computer.  Sometimes I watch t.v.

It's just our way of life, not spending much any time together for 2 weeks of each month.  But I don't like it.  If I wasn't drained from work, etc, I could take up a hobby.  For now the only appealing hobby is sleeping :)  I shouldn't complain.  At least my sons are around.  I'm really not looking forward to 4 years from now when I'm really all by myself!

K, enough whining.  This post is really for my husband.  So he knows that I miss him.  He will read it when he gets up tomorrow (and I'm at school, changing the world, one child at a time....or something like that), or maybe even when he gets home tonight.

On the plus side, I have my fur posse surrounding me.  Two kitties, and one dog.  All hellbent on being close to me.  Pretty sweet, really.  And they will likely join me when I crawl into bed tonight.  Which doesn't leave much room for said husband.  Unfortunately for the posse, he doesn't share my willingness to contort himself around sleeping critters.  But when choosing between furry friends and husband, I choose husband.
Every time.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving....Canadian style

It is Thanksgiving in Canada.  A long weekend of big meals, fall weather and working around the house.  Saturday Thanksgiving dinner at my parents/birthday celebration for hubs and oldest nephew.  The next big family meal will be Christmas, and my sister will have had her baby by then.  Our houses aren't going to be big enough to hold us all!

Photo: Howdy Neighbours. This is our Mountain in full regalia.
Thanksgiving picture of Blue Mountain area (which I swiped from Dave Russell, via facebook.  Thanks Dave!)

Yesterday was our smaller family Thanksgiving, minus our daughter and her boyfriend.  They had one of his family dinners.  Big difference between the 4 of us, and the 16 of us the day before!  The day was a very low-key day, and I got caught up on some very important tasks.  You know, reading blogs and pinterest.  Things I've gotten a little behind in :)  I could do that with little guilt, seeing how I did hours of school work stuff Saturday morning when I was up at 5 because I couldn't sleep.  Yes, that's just how exciting my life is.  4 hours of work on a Saturday morning while the house sleeps, and hours blog reading and pinning on a Sunday.  I did do some laundry and read the newspaper too, just so you know my weekend hasn't been completely one of sloth.

Hubs has been working on cleaning the garage this weekend.  Forcing me to go through some boxes of teaching stuff that were stored in the rafters.  I ended up throwing most of it out.  Teachers are a Hoarders episode waiting to happen!  I haven't tackled the boxes from June that are still sitting waiting to be sorted, from when I cleaned out my classroom.  I don't think I'll ever have a classroom again, so I don't know why I keep so much stuff.  Again, hoarder issues!

While he was cleaning, he dumped an old flowerpot into the compost bin.  When I soon afterwards went to dump some apple peelings, I discovered little beady eyes looking at me as soon as I lifted the lid.  He had unknowingly dumped a nest of young mice.  I of course am a softy, and had to rescue them.  Against his better judgement, he helped me to get them out of the bin and release them into the wild.  AKA my neighbours back yard.  Field mice are adorable, cute little creatures.  And I cannot harm a living thing.  I should add that this is not a backyard compost bin, but the bin that gets collected by the township on garbage day.  They would have been crushed.  I could not allow that to happen.

While this is not one of the released mice, they did look pretty much like this.  Only a little grayer.  They were young.

If the crazy weather cooperates today, perhaps a nice long walk with the dog.  It was cold enough here yesterday for a winter coat (and I was wearing sandals and shorts last week!), and my b-i-l said it was like sleet where they live, 20 minutes away.  Cold I can handle, wet precipitation of any description, no thanks.  But dare I say it?!  I have been pain free for a week, both hip and foot.  I'm knocking on wood right now so I don't jinx myself!  I want to go for a walk.  Maybe once it warms up a bit outside.  Maybe I'll even get a few pictures of my own, instead of grabbing them from my friends' facebook pages!

Whatever I do, I'm going to enjoy one more day of weekend.  It's the last one until Christmas vacation.  I'm going to make it count!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

late night phone caller & a double life

Dear Carol Bailey,
I don't know who you are.  I'm not sure I want to know.  I do know that you called me at 10:16 last night, disturbing my peaceful slumber.  I realize 10:16 is not late for most normal people, but I wake up for the day between 4 and 5 a.m., so 10:16 is very late.  And possibly when I am in REM.  I know it was you, no point denying it.  I have caller ID.  And I'm thinking about giving you a hang-up call at 4 when I wake up tomorrow.  But I will block my phone number, so you will have no idea who it was.  I'm not usually a vindictive woman, but when it involves sleep, look out.
A tired and grumpy Nicole  Hmmmph!

Glad to have that off of my chest.

Today is an exciting day!  Not only am I wearing my very comfortable Queen Elizabeth shoes (they are red, one saving grace), so my suspected bunion isn't hurting, today my Ministry of Education funded project actually begins!  Ok, it's not just mine, I share it with some fantastic teacher friends.  But I am very excited!  It's been almost a full year since we applied for the grant, and we are starting!  Yippeeeeeee!!!!!!

That's where the double life part comes in.  By weekend I am a wine drinking, yoga pant (or pyjamas, who am I kidding?!) wearing, wild haired person.  By weekday I am an educator.  I wear fairly conservative clothing, tame my wild tresses and slip my tootsies into shoes that would make British monarchs proud.  I do very exhilarating things all day long--discipline unruly children, support teachers, answer a kajillion emails, read compelling professional research and yes, write grant proposals.  Based on data of student learning that I have examined for trends and gaps in student learning.  I align my work with Ministry of Education plans, board plans and school plans.

So you see, that's why come Saturday I refuse to get dressed in real clothes.  I only do so under duress.  The people of my small town are under the impression that I may in fact be a lunatic.  Because they only get to see me at my weekend finest.  I'm sure they don't even recognize me when I pop into the store after school.

A real double life.  Watch it Carol Bailey, I may not just hang-up phone call you, I may send you a suspension letter too. 

Monday, October 1, 2012


I think I'm getting a bunion.  I have awful pain on the outside of the big toe joint on my right foot.  How I might ask, does one who has ALWAYS worn shoes for comfort, not fanciness, get a bunion?  Or the start of a bunion?  High heels have never been a footwear choice (seriously, the black old lady pumps I have, have only been worn a handful of times in the 8 years I've owned them).  Birkenstocks, Blundstones, Clarks and New Balance runners are the footwear of choice.  How on earth could those choices cause a bunion?

My hubs was just diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his hands.  I of course am highly suggestible.  Maybe it's not a bunion.  Maybe it's arthritis.  Maybe it's something I was born with, only now rearing it's ugly head.  That's reasonable, right?

It's not gout.  Of that I'm sure.  No swelling, heat or redness on the joint.  Or maybe it is.

I do know that this madness has to stop.  I cannot be getting a bunion to go with my Queen Elizabeth shoes. Not possible.

I will ask my awesome chiro/sports therapist.  Who I'm sure thinks I'm a complete hypochondriac.  But it's not him getting bunion.  Or needing a hip replacement (ok, that may be a slight exaggeration....)

How do you know if it's a bunion or not?  That is the question.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

fall camping

This was home for the past 2 days.  MacGregor Point Provincial Park.  Let me say that this is camping at its best.  Propane fireplace, hardwood floors, bunkbeds (the kind with a double bed on the bottom and single on top).  Covered shelter with bbq and picnic table.  Lights and hydro (that means electricity, for non-Ontarians) inside the yurt.  Not exactly roughing it, but perfect for a fall camping trip for 2.  Perfect because we literally packed clothes, our lawn chairs, reading lamp and books and sleeping bags and pillows.  Didn't bother packing food, because we are realists.  I'm not much of a cook at the best of times.  Plus, with the week of insanity that just wrapped up, we were totally unprepared for our camping trip.  C'est la vie.  And Union Burger for supper suits me just fine!  Kids stayed home (thanks to the oldest coming home from university to ensure there were no wild high school parties and that our house would be intact when we got home!).  It was a beautiful weekend!  Sunny and fairly warm (although I dressed as though we were on an Arctic expedition...cold all the time).  Went on a nice long trail walk, then vegged out and read.  I curled up on the bed to read, and woke up a couple of hours later.  I love naps!

After returning from Union Burger (town is only a few minutes away) we lit a campfire and sat by the fire until long after dark, chatting and enjoying the brightness of the full moon.  We didn't even need our flashlight on the way to the "comfort station", but were able to see quite clearly by the light of the moon.  Beautiful.

The best part of the weekend?  Spending quality time with my hubs, resting and feeling ready for the week ahead.  Spending wifi free time is absolutely necessary every now and then.  When I'm at home, I always feel obligated to spend part of the weekend working, catching up on emails, doing all of the little stuff I never get finished up at school.

Of course, we picked the weekend of "Pumpkinfest" in Port Elgin.  We chose the weekend about 6 weeks ago, not realizing that the town would be a beehive of activity.  I know I'm going to be asked if we enjoyed the festival, and yes I did.  Because we avoided it like you would catch the plague there.  Crowds of people looking at antique cars and a midway (not much to do with gourds, right?!) are not my idea of a good time.  Making fun of old dudes reliving their youth by way of their historic ride though?  Totally my thing.  I believe there is a rule somewhere that states that regardless of temperature and weather, drivers of old cars must drive with the windows down, elbow resting on the door, hair slicked back and wearing a tacky windbreaker jacket.  Not much wonder my dad sold his vintage car.  No way he would fit in with that crowd.  Windbreakers and slicked back hair are not his style.  And my mom wouldn't want the windows down.

Of course, once home I caught up my work emails, and got some stuff ready for the week ahead.  And cuddled with my dog and cat, who clearly missed me.

Next weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving.  The real reason we need pumpkins.  I have to figure out a gluten-free pumpkin pie.  And gluten-free stuffing.  I know what I'll be pinning this week (provided I have time!).

Camping and rocking Don King hair and yoga pants?  2 of my favourite things.  It was a great weekend :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly

First the good.  Blood tests indicate that chelation was working and antibodies are decreasing.  Very good!  So will be continuing with more cycles of chelation.  And after a lecture from my ND, will be going for IV treatments every other Friday morning before work.  Apparently it's very important while undergoing chelation.  Umm, I skipped that little part when reading my protocol.  She was not amused.  But this is exciting news!!!  In other good news, still melanoma free.  Very good news indeed.  Although nothing as humbling as the head to toe skin inspection--mortifying.

The bad--hip not good, still getting therapy, may never be better--or so it feels.  Also bad--in a series of disastrous small mistakes, had the scariest day of my professional life this week.  It all ended well, but not without panic and police and fire dept involvement.  The worst part?  Had ONE specific person done what we asked of her, the entire situation could have been resolved in about 5 minutes instead of 30.  It was a glass of wine night that night!

The ugly--huge bruises on my arm from the last IV/bloodwork 1 & 1/2 weeks ago.  One is particularly nasty looking, and looks like somebody tried to beat me up.  Not so, just a little bleeding under the skin.  Which will hopefully disappear soon.  Amusing watching people at work try to work up the courage to ask what happened to me (I may have a rather sinister sense of humour).  And actually really ugly hair today.  But that's ok.

It was quite a week, I must say.  Rewarded myself with comfy shoes for work--buy one get one 1/2 off Clark's at Shoeper in Orangeville.  Hopefully very sore hip and sore knees will feel better from wearing frumpy, yet comfy shoes to run up and downstairs the million times a week on ceramic tile floor at school.  It's always a bit of a comeuppance when you realize that you must wear shoes that aren't even snazzy enough for your mother....*sigh*  Frumpy shoes match today's ugly hair.  Actually kind of Queen Elizabeth looking shoes.  HOT! 

The past week kicked my a$$, but I still love my job and life is good.  First day of fall has brought rather bizarre weather to southern Ontario (Mother Nature is acting like she's in the throes of menopause--without the benefit of progesterone assistance!).  If the weather would cooperate, I would love to go on a long walk.  But since it's rather uncertain, I may just settle for having a bath and reading instead.

PS--a few minutes after posting (when the sun was shining!), thought I heard rain on the deck--nope, HAIL!  Or some sleety kind of precipitation.  She definitely needs some bio-identical hormone therapy!

Friday, September 14, 2012

life is great!

School week #2 down.  TGIF!  Love the job, just need some sleep.  I have solved the world's problems from about 2:00 am to 5:30 am EVERY DAY, when it's time to get up.  I need to sleep tonight.  But even given the serious lack of sleep, life is FANTASTIC!  Clean bill of health at dermatologist (take that melanoma!  Ha!), Vit C iv at the naturopath (my arms are a mess of bruises and whatnot, it wasn't a good vein day :$) and some therapy on my hip yesterday.  Dr. Hotty (no, that's not his real name.  He would be mortified.  But this is the freedom that being over 40 gives one...*insert smirk*) has said I can do any activity I please and is actually encouraging running.  Not the guarded, "well, I guess" I've had all along.  And I'm going back to yoga.  So excited.

Having said all that, I have to say I'm enjoying the best part of my week yet--2nd glass of sauvignon blanc, DVR of last night's Big Brother, and the promise of an early night.  Does it get any better?  Well, it would be better if my hubs wasn't on afternoons, but whatevs.  Two solid weeks of days coming up.  Gotta love it!

Now having said all of these glowing things (I know, I'm not usually so sunshiny.  And no, it's not just the wine!), life continues to have its challenges, including not seeing hubs for 2 weeks at a time.  That is not cool.  But I determined to have a more positive life outlook, and here it is.  Enjoy!  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week one recap....

If  you are reading this, then I can only surmise that you too have conquered the first week of school.  Let me be the first to congratulate you!  It could only have been the longest week in the history of the world.  For real.

But in that crazy long week, I must say I have discovered something very cool.  I LOVE my new job.  Yes, every day there's a ton of stuff that I have no clue how to do, or what the answer is, and feel like I'm faking it (ok, not totally, I generally have a fairly good clue of what I'm doing).  The best, when the new smartboard was delivered, only I knew nothing about it, the people delivering it were asking me really hard questions (so, what room is this going to?, sign here please...and finally--have you ever used a smartboard?).  I looked and felt like an idiot.  But in my own defence, it was the first day of school.  As often as I don't have a definitive answer, and I'm feeling my way along, I actually do have an answer.  A right answer!

I feel like I never get a chance to sit, yet if I do get a minute there's about a billion emails to answer (billion may be a slight exaggeration.  Maybe million.)  Kids who don't have enough lunch, so we share ours.  Phone calls to answer.  Parents to call back.  Kids who need ice.  Or some "redirection" for behaviour.  Or a teacher who needs something.  And I love it.  I am now convinced that I have really made the right decision.  Yes, I know, bit late to consider that.  But change always makes little niggling doubts in the back of the mind, don't you think?!  And before I get accused of being Pollyanna, yes, I am aware that there will be very difficult days.  Days I just want to get a job at Dairy Queen.  Or McDonalds.  You know, somewhere that doesn't expect me to make decisions that impact others.

And honestly, I miss my old school.  I miss the classroom.  But I still know that I have made a good move.  And I get to visit the old one :)

In other first week news, my youngest has had a great first week in high school.  He's happy.  Of course, that may just be because of the older girls.  And young girls.  Girls.  Should I be alarmed that a grade 11 or 12 Link Crew leader was "grinding on him" at the dance for Grade 9s?!  Believe when I say that I am!  Evil girl of loose morals, I say!  (although, the story may have been slightly exaggerated.  He is a boy after all)

Middle child seems happy enough too.  And pleased to be sought out by the senior volleyball coach to come out for the team.  He managed to get his brother recruited too.  I am baffled by why they love volleyball so much.  Baffled I say!

And tomorrow, I move my girl child back to university.  Apparently she is taking everything she owns from her room.  Or maybe the giant bins of clothing she`s taking are just making it seem that way.  I`m glad her brother and boyfriend are coming to carry the heavy stuff.  Which is just as well, as hip is raging soreness from going up and downstairs a zillion times this week, and running around the halls like a demented woman trying to be 10 places at once.

Which reminds me of how glad I am to have spent a fortune in $$ and time to heal my hip this summer.  NOT!  How could I have concentrated so much to heal the stupid thing, to be in nearly as much pain weeks later?!  I don't care how hot that dr guy is, I'm not happy.  No running, no yoga and clearly after this week, no solution.  Grrrrrrrr!

Enough about me.  How was your first week of school?  I've been thinking about all of my teacher friends and friends with kiddos going back.  And those with kiddos going for the first time.  I'm sure the perspective is vastly different!

A couple glasses of wine later, and it's time for me to climb into my bed.  To not wake up at 5:30 tomorrow morning.  Enjoy your weekend friends.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

happiness is...

A great haircut and the perfectly made Earl Grey Tea latte made with soy milk.  Stylist was sufficiently apologetic, so I deigned to reschedule.  GREAT haircut!  It will look demented when I wake up tomorrow, but it's now manageable and won't look like Carrot-top or Sideshow Bob.  Followed up by a trip to Starbucks, where the perfect soy latte was purchased and consumed whilst listening to Green Day on the way home.

One more day of getting for school and then the long weekend.  Life is good.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


The countdown is on.  One week before the kiddos are back in school.  Of course, I've already been back for a week, and what a week that was!  BUSY!  And that's without kids!  The next week is all booked up already too, it's amazing how much stuff goes on behind the scenes in a big school, that no one ever sees.  Even I didn't know just how much.  I do know that without students I was so busy that on a couple days I didn't have time for lunch.  I ate on the run. 

So, eating on the run, while not good for your body, is the way it's going to be.  I literally do not sit down in my office for more than a few minutes at a time, and that's only for making phone calls or interviewing teachers for open jobs.  I need to pack healthy, easy to eat lunches.  Stuff that I can graze on all day.  That kind of leaves leftovers from dinner out.  I have to be intentional about what I pack (and pack it the night before, not as I'm running out the door).  It will be good for me.  But since I also know myself, I am going to stash some little cans of tuna, lentil soup (canned), protein bars and portioned protein/greens powder in my desk drawer.  If I'm caught without enough (or forget my lunch), I'll at least be able to get through the day.  Maybe some applesauce too, and take some fruit/veggies to leave in the fridge for the week too. We'll see.  I know that I eat healthy as long as there are options ready for me.  When there's not....well, it's just too easy to slide into unhealthy choices.

I also need to make my life easier by organizing my closet and getting clothes for the following day out in the evening.  Madly trying to find something to wear in the morning does not get the day off to a smooth start....we all know that.  And given the distance I will be travelling each morning, and the fast pace of the job, I need smooth beginnings to the day.  There's enough that can go wrong once I'm there, I need to be in a calm, rational frame of mind.

I had some nice comments (on the blog and by email) following my last post.  It was just one of those days, and the simple act of writing about it made me feel better.  I was able to see the humour later.  Seriously, who cries over hair and tea?!  Although, given the state of my hair, maybe it wasn't an unreasonable response.... :)  Thank you to everyone who cared enough to comment.  Knowing that others are empathizing and get what you're complaining about makes it all feel better.  As crazy as that is!

Autoimmune Girl commented about the changing seasons causing stress.  Back to school time always causes those in education stress, but she has a very good point.  Changing seasons, changing weather, all of these changes cause stress--when you think of it, what triggers migraines and physical feelings of unwellness?  For me it's changing seasons and weather.  Go figure that I would be having a tough day!  I am still feeling a little out of sorts, but really only when I have time to sit and think about it.  One good reason to be back to work--less time to think obsess about everything.

Weather here in southern Ontario has been beautiful the past week, really hot yesterday and again today.  So I am doing the only thing that a sane person can--I'm heading to the beach.  It might be one of my last beach days.  I always try to get to the beach the last week of August, and I'm not going to mess with tradition.

Enjoy the last countdown week, we'll be waiting for your kids :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

One of those days...

It's been one of those days.  I feel like Alexander in the book, "Alexander's Very Bad, Horrible Day".  Since the moment I opened my eyes this morning.  Things that have contributed:
1.  Stress about the upcoming school year.  I'm in top stressed form.
2.  Stress about my practicum project and Ministry of Education grant funded project--which are intertwined and getting too big and OMG!  (although did get about $10 000 more funding to expand the project to new school).
3.  Stress over my teenagers.  Need I say more?
4.  Today is my last paycheque for a month because my role has changed and the pay schedule is different.  All will be well, but it means watching what I spend.  And I'm not overly good at that.  (good at all actually)
5.  Had an appointment to FINALLY get my hair cut.  Sat at the salon for half and hour waiting for my stylist (who is very fickle, but I have followed her from salon to salon for YEARS).  I love how she understands my very baby fine yet wacko curly hair.  I am terrified to try to find someone else.  TERRIFIED!  I have hair issues.  Anyway, after driving the half hour into town, waiting half an hour, I get a text from her that she's had something come up and can't do my hair.  Which is absolutely wild.  And I go back to work Monday and need to look like a professional, not like a madwoman who combs her hair with a weedwhacker.
6.  Huffily proceeded to Starbucks to drown my sorrows in a venti Earl Grey latte made with soy, only to be informed they didn't have any soy (AGAIN!), but could make it with milk.  Hello?  People who order soy want frigging soy, not dairy.  I have an allergy! 
7.  Utterly incensed, make my way back to van, and cry in parking lot over hair and tea.  Puhleeeze!
8.  Drive half hour back home with disastrous hair, no tea latte and a bad attitude.  Drink lime Perrier as a substitute and consider killing the bottle of Sauv Blanc in the fridge, only realize will result in wine hangover and another horrid day tomorrow.  And will still have to face hair tomorrow anyway.
9.  Wish I was at Summerfolk, Blue Rodeo or Havelock for the weekend instead of obsessing over tea, hair and work.  Not necessarily in that order.
10.  Am resigned to crappy day, looking forward to a fresh start tomorrow.  And desperately trying to find the humour in my day today.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

random ramblings....

I've been enjoying the peace of the first morning I didn't have to be somewhere this week.  Nice!  Drinking coffee, chat on fb with Julie, reading blogs.  Found another design blog that I love, quirky stuff, just how I like it.  Also clicked on another blog only to have flipping music start playing.  I need to remember to turn the sound on the laptop off while surfing blogland, I know lots of people love it, but I am not a fan of music playing on blogs.  It's usually some happy music that kind of makes me gag.  Not very nice, but there it is. 

I've been reading a few blogs in which the writer has concerns about offending someone.  And deciding to not worry so much about it.  As  you can see above, that doesn't concern me so much.  I don't wish to offend, but really, if you don't like the way I write, then don't read my blog.  I'm not making anyone read it, right?  And I don't think I'm very controversial anyway.  I'm just me in all my outspoken glory :)

In other news, it's been a very busy week.  Not the way I wanted to spend my last week of relative freedom before heading back to school.  But it is what it is.  I'm just glad to get to take it easy this morning and only go to an appointment later this afternoon.  Which brings me to Dr. Adam and his office of pain (kidding!  It feels great after).  I've been working on healing my back, which is supposed to be the cause of all my hip problems.  Guess what?!  It's not all my back (I knew it!).  I actually have something wrong with my psoas too.  It was all I could do not to say I told you so to him when I was there last week.  But since he was working very hard to make it feel better, I restrained myself.  He broke a sweat.  I'm going again today, and he's going to work on it again.  My personal favourite?  The part where he puts a strap around his torso and around my leg (he looked like he might die of embarrassment when he asked me to adjust it so that it was as close to my hip joint as possible, after almost touching my crotch trying to adjust it.....maybe it was my smirk? lol), and then pulls my thigh bone slightly out of joint to relieve the pressure.  That's when he broke a sweat.  He had to work very hard.  And although I was skeptical at first, it did relieve the pressure and felt fantastic.  I had my doubts.  But although it's disheartening in that it's been almost a year that's it's really been giving me trouble, it's heartening in that if it's not L1 and L2, then I will be able to go to yoga!!!  And do forward folds!  Not just the half-assed practice I've been trying to do (admittedly, very sporadically).  I will still need to be careful (no plough pose!), but I gives me hope.  The best my stupid hip has ever felt is when I was going to vinyasa 2x a week for a year.  I'm going to try to build up to 2 vinyasa practices a week, with some restorative and gentle hatha in between for good measure.  Happiness!

On the chelation/thyroid front, things seem to be improving.  But I've started having hot flashes.  Big time.  Which tells me my hormones are adjusting to something, maybe my estrogen dominance is finally fading?  I don't know for sure, but I do know that I feel like ripping off all of my clothes and running naked through a sprinkler or jumping into Georgian Bay once or twice a day.  Definitely something to consult with my ND about.  It could be that my thyroid is swinging to overactive--something that happens with Hashimoto's.  The logical part of me knows that's not healthy either, but it would be nice to drop the weight that having an underactive thyroid has caused to creep on.  The human hormonal body is a precarious thing!

The other big news in my life is that the course I was going to take in France next summer is being offered in London instead.  And I have no desire to go to England.  In the least.  Very disappointing, so much so I couldn't even write about it.  It would seem that every time I'm planning a summer (or part thereof) in France it falls through.  All through no fault of my own.  It's just not meant to be.  So I'm now considering taking said course during the school year and spending the trip money on a trip with my family.  Like to Nova Scotia or my personal favourite, PEI.  Or maybe I should just spend it on a saltwater pool in my backyard.  Or a trailer.  We'll see.  But I won't be in Europe :(  However I work it, it will require some juggling of my work life to take the course.  Which is required for work.  Quite a coincidence, wouldn't you say?  I have to request the time from the director of education, in order to miss work.  Which I was totally willing to do to go to France, but not so much to do it here in Ontario.  What a dilemma!

Time for me to get my butt in gear and actually do something other than write or play on the computer.  I have a few house projects planned (not necessarily for today), and I really need to clean my closet.  I have to be able to find my nice work clothes for next week.  Have I mentioned I'm not ready for summer to be over?  Or to dress like a professional grown-up and not a professional beach/yoga bum?  I'm trying to figure out a way to wear yoga pants to work everyday and still look like a vice-principal.  I haven't worked it out yet, but if there's a way, I will find it.  I'll keep you posted :)  In the meantime, I guess professional clothes it is.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I've been pondering all of these wonderful homesteading blogs that I enjoy reading.  And chuckling to myself, because this new homesteading craze--it's how I grew up.  We all did.  All of us country kids anyway.  Our momma's had huge gardens (which we were pressed into weeding and picking), we helped make preserves and pickles and jams, we bought sides of beef and chickens from the neighbours to fill the freezer for winter.  My mom made bread for us, muffins and cookies--I don't think I had store bought bread until my early teen years, not at home anyway.  We had fish that we caught with our dad, and venison from my grandpa.  We didn't have hens, 'cause they smell according to my dad, but we got farm fresh eggs from the neighbour.  My parents huge garden had a compost heap (long before plastic composters were to be had), the garden was fertilized with manure from the family farm.

Don't get me wrong, I love that homesteading has become a new way of being/living for so many newly rural folk.  But I do chuckle at the notion that this self-sustaining way of living is new.  I was at a friend's house yesterday morning, a friend who grew up in the city.  He planted his very first garden this year.  Let's just say that this single man planted a garden that would provide for a family of 15.  He has enough tomatoes and beans to feed himself for about 5 years, if he gets it all into the freezer or canned.  I offered to teach him how to do canning and preserving.  He looked at me like I had just sprouted another head.  I offered him some gardening advice.  Again with the second head look.  I finally asked him what the heck was the matter.  His reply--"how do you know this stuff?"  I guess I have A LOT of knowledge tucked away in the back of my head, stuff that I haven't used in years.

I haven't had a garden for years.  Between kids sports, spring being the busiest time of year for a teacher, and just not enough steam to get things rolling in the spring, I just haven't done it.  I also moved a few years ago to a new house without the benefit of pre-made gardens.  A blessing and a curse.  Every year I have the best of intentions, but just never get there somehow.  But looking at the bounty of my friend's garden made me pine for it like crazy.  I think I might put the teenagers to work helping me get gardens dug and amended this fall, so that in the spring I can easily plant.  I have a vision!  And my hubs is likely cringing if he reads this, he knows what that means :)

My good friend shares the bounty of his garden and gave me a lovely basket filled with 5 types of tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and onions straight from the garden.  A beautiful basket lined with a cloth, all piled up.  I ate a bunch of tomatoes and a cucumber with supper last night.  Nothing compares to produce picked that same day for flavour!  And he's offered more--I will gladly take him up on that offer, and he will be receiving some pickles and chili sauce made with his produce in return.

Speaking of chili sauce, I made a batch last night, with Ontario tomatoes purchased from the market.  Not as good as my friend's tomatoes, but they made a mean batch of chili sauce.  I need to make another 2 or 3 batches, 4 jars of this delicious sauce does not go far in a family of this size.  I think I'll make a batch of salsa with some of the tomatoes he gave me, and the ones I had leftover from the chili sauce.  He gave me some gold tomatoes, along with some kind of burgundy coloured ones (I don't know the name) and I think they will make a beautiful salsa--to look at and to eat!  I found a fresh salsa on pinterest (no 100 year old salsa recipes from my Scottish/Irish grandmother's!), that looks amazing.  I'll let you know.  And that reminds me to say what an awesome feeling it is to make something from a recipe that you know is at least as old as your great-grandmother would have been, 'cause it came from her recipe book.  You know, the handwritten, notes on the sides kind.  One of my most treasured possessions is a handwritten recipe from my grandmother--written in her beautiful handwriting, with her little notes to me on the side.  The best recipes ever!

I may even raise the hen issue with my hubs again....we go through a lot of eggs around here, it would be wonderful to have them right from our own hens.....that may be a bit of a hard sell.

My friend the Cargillwitch (hi ML!) posted an article on facebook yesterday (a link from the Toronto Star) about young, educated women taking up farming.  Great article, but some of the comments were even better.  The state of agriculture in North America is appalling.  The article was timely for me, given the thoughts I was already having about homesteading and gardening and such.  And I saw a Harrowsmith mag at my friend's house (I miss Harrowsmith, a "homesteading" kind of mag from waaaaay back that has gone out of publication).  Makes me ponder.

Today, no gardening, preserving or such.  Going to IKEA with my mom.  And likely some shopping too.  Talk about a change in pace!

Enjoy this overcast possibly rainy day :)

Friday, August 10, 2012


I took some great pictures of Flowerpot Island and Tobermory when hubs and I were there for a 2 night getaway...sans enfants!  But of course, my computer won't read my memory card.  So no pictures for my blog.  :(

Anyway....we went to Tobermory for 2 nights, and had a fabulous time!  We wandered "the Tub" and ate at a few little restaurants, and we took a boat over to Flowerpot Island.  It's an island about 6 km off the mainland, that has naturally occurring "flowerpots" carved out of the limestone by the waves of Georgian Bay.  We hiked the island, visited the lighthouse, the marl bed and sat on the rocky shore watching the water and the waves.  Georgian Bay is good for the soul.  So is Lake Huron.  Heck, any of the Great Lakes!

It was a much needed getaway, the kind that every long marriage needs from time to time.  The kind that we are not good at taking.  Of course, I worried about the kids and whether my house would be standing when we got home (it was) and what kind of drama would unfold in our absence.  I managed to set it aside for the most part.  Little art galleries, touristy shops, outfitters, diving shops and lots of walking around, and down the boardwalk. 

I am never happier than when out on the water, or sitting on the shore contemplating the waves.  I would love to live on the water.  Someday, someday.  It was delightful to spend time alone with my hubs, talking about our plans for the future, the kids, careers...all of the things that couples discuss. 

And we did return home to teenage drama (of course!), but it was soon resolved--as much as teenaged drama can be.  The pets were all alive and in one piece and very glad to see Mom.  It's just not the same when Mom is away!  The house was unscathed (thank you Jess!), and the dishes were even done.

Next getaway planned--fall yurt camping!  For my hubs 44th birthday.  Looking forward to spending more time in nature, this time on Lake Huron, at a provincial park.  And I will get pictures again, and hopefully the computer will read the card :)  I may try my daughter's laptop and see if I have anymore luck with it.  If I can get pics on any computer I will upload them--the beauty of Ontario nature must be shared!

Oh--and on the way home, we stopped by a potter's studio.  We bought a cream and sugar from the same potter not long after we were engaged 21 years ago, which over the years and through 3 kids gradually were broken beyond repair.  This time we bought a set of 3 small dishes, it was so nice to be able to buy something from him again.  His daughter is also a potter, and if she's in studio the next time we head up the peninsula we're going to check her work out too.  If you're ever in Wiarton, go see Don Dubois at his studio--it's a beautiful converted barn, and his work is gorgeous.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

on dogs and thunderstorms

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my dog.  Chase the Wonderdog is an 8 year old lab/border collie mix, smart as a whip and the best dog ever.  Hands down.  Fantastic friend, walking partner, great with kids, all  around sweetheart.  In the past six months or so, Chasey has developed a fear phobia of thunderstorms.  Last night in my part of Ontario we had a thunderstorm.  Hours of delightful cuddling with my favourite dog.  If by delightful one imagines panting, drooling, pacing, up on the bed, down on the floor, roaring at the cheeky cat, back up on the bed, on top of me, licking my hands, back on the floor, down the hall to check on the kids (which incidentally gets my daughter's boyfriend's dog who was visiting going), roaring at the cat again and chasing him down the stairs, thundering back up the stairs, back onto the bed and repeat.  Incessantly.  In between the cheeky cat (who worships the dog) gets up one the to "comfort" her, purring at the top of his lungs, rubbing up against her, licking her face, walking the full length of my body several times (it's very important to never walk directly on the mattress).

Either the dog gets valium or I do.  This particular morning I don't care which.  I've given her Bach's Rescue Remedy in the past, but having it sprayed in her mouth freaks her out as much as the storm.  So sedatives it is.  Wonder if the dr. would prescribe them for me so my extended health insurance would pay?  After all, it's ultimately for the benefit of my health...KIDDING!!! 

I am exhausted this morning.  I feel like I used to when I had toddlers that were up off and on half the bloody night.  Like crap.  Chase is curled up napping on the couch, next to me in her regular spot.  How cruel would it be to repeatedly wake her up every time she drifts off to sleep today?  Ok, I won't do that, it looks like we could get more storms, which will take care of her sleeping.

Chasey-dog, you are a lucky, spoiled doggy.  I love you.  And I am going to drug you so we can sleep.

Friday, August 3, 2012


I have a love/hate relationship with August.  August makes me melancholy.  It makes me think about all of the things I haven't accomplished in July--I always have huge plans, and don't achieve many of them.  It makes me realize that it's almost school time again.  While I love my job, the insane pace that life takes on once school starts, not so much.  I love August weather, hate that it signals the waning summer.  Days are getting conspiculously shorter.  Makes me a bit panicky, I have to say.  I love the bounty of the farmer's market, hate that it also means Thanksgiving will be here before we know it.

Maybe part of my problem with this August is that I was taking a very intensive course for the first 2 weeks of July.  My personal life has had more than its share of bumps along the way recently.  Happily we are getting through them, things are better than ever, but it hasn't been especially easy.  And hasn't made this summer especially wonderful--and now August in all her freaking glory is here already.  *sigh*  See, melancholy.

But--good things are on the horizon.  Hubs and I are going away for a couple of days, just the 2 of us!  I'm excited.  Although I really miss having little guys, this is one benefit.  Big kids (ok, the girl is an adult...) can fend for themselves, keep the menagerie alive in my absence and my house will be standing at the end of it all.  Blackberries are a wonderful thing--I can check in with them whenever I need to be sure all is well.  We've decided to go to Tobermory, one of our favourite places on earth.  Have I mentioned I can't wait?!

We've also booked a yurt for the hubs birthday weekend in September.  I love camping, but neither one of us can sleep on the ground in a tent anymore (middle aged backs are not fans of that!).  So we've planned another weekend sans enfants, camping in a yurt.  A yurt is kind of like a cabin, only circular shaped.  It comes with beds and all the stuff you need for camping.  Another bonus.  Fall camping is the absolute best kind of camping.  Again--can't wait!  And the girl has agreed to come home from university to help make sure her brothers survive (and don't have a high school party and trash my house).

I've just realized that in addition to my angst about my new job (exciting and terrifying!), my girl will soon be heading back to university.  Which she loves.  So much that she doesn't come home very often and I really miss her when she's gone.  She's living in a house this year, and has to cook for herself.  Maybe I'll see her more often so she can come home to be fed up :) 

Another reason for feeling some melancholy this year--my geriatric kitty has started peeing in inappropriate places.  Like my bed.  With me in it.  I think she's maybe lost her marbles.  And it pangs me to think that we are maybe going to have to make a very difficult decision.  But I need to be a realist.  I can't afford to replace all the things that get ruined when covered in cat urine.  Like my purple haze purse (periwinkle nubuck leather Roots....).  My mattress.  The carpet.  She's been to the vet, there's nothing physically wrong.  There are enough litter boxes placed strategically around the house for 10 cats.  I repeat--I think she's lost her marbles.

August is not a good month around here for grief.  It seems to be the emotion of the month.  In response, I am determined to not wallow in self-pity (I know, doesn't sound like it, does it?).  But I will make the best of a difficult month.  I will be excited about school.  I will be excited about cooler days ahead.  I will enjoy these last few weeks of beach weather.  I promise.

The worst thing about August--I just get into the swing of summer living and it's time to get thinking about fall. 

What do you do to get ready for fall?